« Prev Part I Next »
1

My Life in Christ

Part I

"This is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent."--St. John xvii. 3.

Thou, O God, hast opened wide to me Thy truth and Thy verity. By instructing me in the sciences, Thou hast opened to me all the riches of faith, of nature, and of human understanding; I have learned Thy word--the Word of God--"piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit."11Hebrews iv. 12. I have studied the laws regulating the mind of man, its love of wisdom, the formation and the beauty of speech; I have penetrated in part into the mysteries of Nature, into her laws, into the abyss of the creation of worlds and their revolution; I know the population of the terrestrial globe; I have acquainted myself with its different peoples, with the celebrated persons, and their works, who have passed in turn through this world; I have in part studied the great science of self-knowledge and of how to draw nigh to Thee; in a word, I have become cognisant of many, many things--"for more things are shewed unto thee than men understand,"22Sirach iii. 23. and hereafter I shall yet learn much. I have many books of very varied contents; I have read and re-read them, but still I am not yet satisfied. My spirit still thirsts for further knowledge and my heart is unsatisfied; it hungers, and from all the knowledge thus acquired by the intellect, it cannot gain full happiness. When will it be satisfied? It will be satisfied, when "I will behold Thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with Thy likeness."33Psalm xvii. 15.Until then I shall hunger. "Whosoever drinketh of this water (of worldly wisdom) shall thirst again: but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life,"44St. John iv. 13 and 14.said the Lord.

2

How is it that the saints see us and our needs and hear our prayers? Let us make the following comparison: Suppose that you were transplanted to the sun and were united to it. The sun lights the whole earth with its rays, it lights every particle of the earth. In these rays you also see the earth, but you are so small in proportion to the sun, that you would form, so to say, but one ray, and there are an infinite number of such rays. By its identity with the sun this ray takes an intimate part in lighting the whole world through the sun. So also the saintly soul, having become united to God, as to its spiritual sun, sees, through the medium of its spiritual sun, which lights the whole universe, all men and the needs of those that pray.

Have you learned to see God and represent Him to yourself--as the omnipresent Wisdom, as the living, acting Word, as the vivifying Holy Spirit? The Holy Scripture is the domain of Wisdom, Word and Spirit, of God in the Trinity: in it He clearly manifests Himself: "The Words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life,"55St. John vi. 63. said the Lord. The writings of the Holy Fathers are again the expression of the Mind, Word and Spirit of the Holy Trinity, in which the spirit of the higher class (spiritually speaking) of mankind has largely participated; the writings of ordinary worldly men are the expression of the fallen spirit of men, with all their sinful attachments, habits and passions. In the Holy Scriptures we see God face to face, and ourselves as we are. Man, know thy self through them, and walk always as in the presence of God.

As you are aware, man, in his words, does not die; he is immortal in them, and they will speak after his death. I shall die, but shall speak even after my death. How many immortal words are in use amongst the living, which were left by those who have died long ago, and which sometimes still live in the mouths of a whole people! How powerful is the word even of an ordinary man! Still more so is the Word of God: it will live throughout all ages, and will always be living and acting.

As God is the creative, living and life-giving Wisdom, therefore those greatly sin who, by the thoughts of their spirit, turn aside from the Wisdom of the Trinity and occupy themselves with material, perishable things, thus materialising their spirit itself. Especially do those sin who, during Divine Service in church or during their prayers at home, entirely turn aside in their thoughts from God and allow their minds to wander in different places outside the church. By doing so they greatly offend God, upon Whom on such occasions our minds should be fixed.

To what end do fasting and penitence lead? For what purpose is this trouble taken? They lead to the cleansing of the soul from sins, to peace of heart, to union with God; they fill us with devotion and sonship, and give us boldness before God. There are, indeed, very important reasons for fasting and for confession from the whole heart. There shall be an inestimable reward given for conscientious labour. Have many of us the feeling of sonlike love to God? Dare many of us, without condemnation and with boldness call upon the Father in Heaven and say: "Our Father!".... Is there not, on the contrary, no such sonlike voice to be heard in our hearts, which are deadened by the vanities of this world and attachments to its objects and pleasures? Is not our Heavenly Father far from our hearts? Is it not rather an avenging God that we should represent to ourselves, we who have withdrawn ourselves from Him into a far-away land? Yes, by our sins all of us are worthy of His righteous anger and punishment, and it is wonderful how long-suffering and forbearing He is to us--that He does not strike us like the barren fig trees. Let us hasten to propitiate Him by repentance and tears. Let us enter into ourselves; let us consider our unclean hearts in all strictness, and when we see what a multitude of impurities are keeping them from the reach of Divine grace, we shall ourselves acknowledge that we are spiritually dead.

The loving Lord is here: how can I let even a shadow of evil enter into my heart? Let all evil completely die within me; let my heart be anointed with the sweet fragrance of goodness as with a balsam. Let God's love conquer thee, thou evil Satan, instigating us, who are evil by nature, to evil. Evil is most hurtful both to the mind and to the body. It burns, it crushes, and it tortures. No one bound by evil shall dare to approach the throne of the God of love.

When praying, we must absolutely subject our heart to our will, and turn it towards God. It must be neither cold, crafty, untruthful, nor double-minded, otherwise what will be the use of our prayers, of our preparation for the Sacrament? It is good for us to hear God's voice of anger: "This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me."66St. Matthew xv. 8.

So do not let us stand in church in a state of spiritual prostration, but let the spirit of each one of us on such occasions burn in its working towards God. Even men do not much value the services which we render to them coldly, out of habit. And God requires our hearts. "My son, give Me thine heart."77Proverbs xxiii. 26. Because the heart is the principal part of the man--his life. More than this, the heart is the man himself. Thus he who does not pray or does not serve God with his heart, does not pray at all, because in that case his body only prays, and the body without the mind is nothing more than earth. Remember, that when standing in prayer, you stand before God Himself, who has the wisdom of all. Therefore, your prayer ought to be, so to say, all spirit, all understanding.

The saints of God live even after their death. Thus, I often hear in church the Mother of God singing her wonderful, heart-penetrating song which she said in the house of her cousin Elizabeth, after the Annunciation of the Archangel. At times, I hear the song of Moses; the song of Zacharias--the father of the Forerunner; that of Hannah, the mother of the prophet Samuel; that of the three children; and that of Miriam. And how many holy singers of the New Testament delight until now the ear of the whole Church of God! And the Divine service itself--the sacraments, the rites? Whose spirit is there, moving and touching our hearts? That of God and of His saints. Here is a proof for you of the immortality of men's souls. How is it that all these men have died, and yet are governing our lives after their death--they are dead and they still speak, instruct and touch us?

As the breath is necessary for the body, and as without breathing men cannot live, so likewise the soul cannot truly live without the breath of God's Spirit. As air is necessary for the body, so is the Holy Ghost for the soul. Air has some likeness to the Holy Ghost. As "the wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit."88St. John iii. 8.

When you are threatened with temptation to sin, then represent to yourself vividly that sin is exceedingly displeasing to God, Who hates iniquity. "Thou hatest all workers of iniquity."99Psalm v. 5.

And in order to understand this better, imagine a father, righteous and severe, who loves his family, and is trying by every means to make his children well-principled and upright, in order to reward them afterwards for their good behaviour by the great riches he has laboriously laid up for them, and, who nevertheless 5 sees, to his grief, that the children, disregarding their father's love, do not love him, do not pay attention to the inheritance so lovingly prepared for them by their father, but live disorderly, and rush impetuously to destruction. Mark, that "sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death,"1010James i. 15, and others. because it kills the soul, because it makes us the slaves of the Devil--the destroyer of men; and the more we work for sin, the more difficult will be our return, and the more sure will be our ruin. Dread, therefore, every sin with the whole heart.

When your heart inclines to evil, and the evil one begins to undermine your heart, so that it is completely removed from the rock of faith, then say to yourself inwardly: "I know of my spiritual poverty, my own nothingness without faith. I am so weak, that it is only by Christ's name that I live and obtain peace, that I rejoice and my heart expands, whilst without Him I am spiritually dead, I am troubled, and my heart is oppressed; without the Lord's Cross I should have been long since the victim of the most cruel distress and despair. Only Christ keeps me alive: and the Cross is my peace and my consolation."

We are all able to think, because an unlimited Wisdom (Thought) exists, just as we are able to breathe because unlimited air-spaces exist. This is the reason why bright ideas upon any subject are called inspirations. Our thoughts are constantly flowing conditionally with the existence of the unlimited Spirit of Wisdom (Thought). This is why the Apostle says: "Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves, but our sufficiency is of God."11112 Corinthians iii. 5.

This is also why the Saviour Himself says:--"Take no thought how or what ye shall speak, for it shall be given you in that hour what ye shall speak."1212St. Matthew x. 19.Thus you see that the thought and even the word itself (the inspiration) come to us from without. This, of course, in a state of grace and in cases of need. But even in our ordinary state all our bright thoughts come from our Guardian Angel and from God's Spirit: whilst, on the contrary, impure, dark thoughts proceed from our corrupt nature and from the Devil, ever lying in wait for us. How then, should the Christian behave? "God Himself worketh in us."1313Philippians ii. 13.In general, throughout the world we see the Kingdom of thought in the structure of the whole visible world, as also in particular in the earth, in the rotation and the life of the terrestrial globe; in the distribution of the elements--light, air, water, earth, fire (concealed), whilst other elements are diffused in all animals--in birds, fishes, reptiles, beasts, and men--in their wise and ingenious construction, in their faculties, nature and habits; in plants, in their construction, nourishment, etc.; in a word, we see everywhere the kingdom of thought, even down to the lifeless stone and sand.

Priests of God! learn how to turn the bed of sorrow of the Christian sufferer into one of joy by the consolation of faith; learn how to make him, instead of--in his opinion--the most unfortunate, the happiest of men; assure him that having been "a little chastised he shall be greatly rewarded afterwards,"1414Wisdom iii. 5. and you will be the friends of mankind, angels of consolation, instruments or ministers of the Holy Spirit, the Comforter.

If the fervour of faith in the heart is not sometimes stirred up, then in time, through negligence, faith may become entirely extinguished in us; and Christianity with its Sacraments may entirely die for us. The enemy takes pains to attain this end, and tries to extinguish faith in our hearts and to bury in oblivion all the truths of Christianity. That is why we see men who, being Christians, are only such in name, while by their actions they are quite heathen.

Do not think that our faith is not vivifying to us--pastors--that we serve God hypocritically. No; we before all, and more than all, avail ourselves of God's mercies, and we know by experience what the Lord Himself is to us, His Sacraments, His most pure Mother, and His Saints. For instance, in partaking of the life-giving mysteries of the Blood and Body of the Saviour, we often, often experience in ourselves their vivifying effect, the heavenly gifts of peace and joy in the Holy Ghost; we know that the gracious gaze of a king does not rejoice the heart of the least of his subjects as the merciful gaze of our heavenly Master, as His mysteries rejoice our hearts. And we should have been most unthankful to the Lord, and our hearts would indeed have been hardened, had we not tried to make known the glory of God's Life-giving Mysteries unto His beloved, had we not extolled His wonders, accomplished in our hearts during each celebration of the Divine Liturgy. We also experience the effect of the invincible, incomprehensible, divine power of the Lord's glorious and life-giving Cross, and by its power we drive away from our hearts evil passions, despondency, pusillanimity, fear, and other snares of the Devil. The Cross is our friend and benefactor. I say this sincerely, with full belief in the truth and power of these words.

You wish to comprehend the incomprehensible; but can you understand how the inward sorrows with which your heart is overwhelmed overtake you, and can you find, except in the Lord, the means to drive them away? Learn at first, with your heart, how to free yourself from sorrows, how to ensure peace in your heart, and then, if necessary, philosophise on the incomprehensible, for "if ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest?"1515St. Luke xii. 26.

Think oftener: Whose wisdom appears in the construction of your body? Who has ordered the laws of your thoughts, so that until now these laws are followed by all men? Who has engraved in the hearts of all men the law of conscience, so that until now it rewards the good and punishes the evil in all men? The Almighty, All-wise, and most gracious God! Thy hand is constantly upon me, a sinner, and there is no moment when Thy mercy leaves me. Grant me, then, always to kiss, with living faith, Thy gracious hand. Why should I go far to seek for the traces of Thy mercies, of Thy wisdom, and Thy omnipotence? O! how clearly these traces are visible to me! I, I myself am a miracle of God's goodness, wisdom and omnipotence. I myself--on a small scale--am a whole world; my soul is the representative of the invisible world; my body--of the invisible one.

Brethren! what is the purpose of our earthly life? It is, that, after our trial by earthly affliction and misfortunes, and after our gradual advancement in virtue, by means of the divine gifts, given to us in the sacraments, we may rest, after our death, in the Lord, the peace of our souls. That is why we sing of the dead: "Grant rest, O Lord, to the soul of Thy departed servant." We wish him to rest in peace, as the limit of all wishes, and pray to God for this. Is it not, then, unwise to grieve much for the departed? "Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest,"1616St. Matthew xi. 28. says the Lord. Thus our departed ones, who have fallen asleep in a Christian death, come to this voice of God and obtain rest. What is there, then, to grieve for?

Those who are trying to lead a spiritual life have to carry on a most skilful and difficult warfare, through their thoughts, every moment of their life--that is, a spiritual warfare; it is necessary that our whole soul should be every moment a clear eye, able to watch and notice the thoughts entering our heart from the evil one and repel them; the hearts of such men should be always burning with faith, humility and love; otherwise the subtlety of the Devil finds an easy access to them, followed by a diminution of faith, or entire unbelief, and then by every possible evil, which it will be difficult to wash away even by tears. Do not, therefore, allow your heart to be cold, especially during prayer, and avoid in every way cold indifference. Very often it happens that prayer is on the lips, but in the heart cunning, incredulity or unbelief, so that by the lips the man seems near to God, whilst in his heart he is far from Him. And, during our prayers, the evil one makes use of every means to chill our hearts and fill them with deceit in a most imperceptible manner to us. Pray and fortify yourself, fortify your heart.

If you wish to ask of God in prayer any blessing for yourself, then before praying prepare yourself for undoubting and firm faith, and take in good time means against doubt and unbelief. For it will go ill with you if during the prayer itself your heart wavers in its faith and does not stand firm in it; then do not even expect to obtain of the Lord what you have prayed for doubtingly, for in so doing you have offended the Lord, and God does not bestow His gifts upon a reviler. "And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive,"1717St. Matthew xxi. 22. said the Lord. This means, that if you doubt and do not believe, you shall not receive. "If ye have faith and doubt not," said He also, "ye shall have power to move mountains."1818St. Matthew xxi. 3.Therefore, if you doubt and do not believe, you shall not have power to do so. "Let him ask in faith, nothing wavering, for he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed," says the Apostle James; "for let not that man think he shall receive anything of the Lord. A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways."1919James i. 6-8.The heart that doubts that God can grant what it asks for is punished for this doubt: it is painfully oppressed and contracted by doubt. Do not anger Almighty God even by a shade of doubt--especially you, who have already experienced many and many times, the omnipotence of God. Doubt is a blasphemy against God, an insolent lie of the heart or of the lying spirit that nestles in the heart, against the spirit of truth. Fear it as you would fear a venomous serpent, or no--what I would rather say, is, despise it, do not take the slightest heed of it. Remember that God, during your prayer, is waiting for your affirmative answer to the question which He is inwardly asking you: "Believe ye that I am able to do this?" To which question you must from the depth of your heart reply, "Yea, Lord."2020St. Matthew ix. 28.Let the following considerations also help you in your doubt or unbelief: I ask of God, firstly, that which already exists, and nothing merely imaginary not a fanciful good, and everything that exists receives its being from God: because "without Him was not anything made that was made,"2121St. John i. 3.and therefore, nothing that happens can happen without Him, and everything has either received its being from Him, or happens by His will or His permission, by means of powers and faculties given by Him to His creatures--and in everything that exists or is still happening, God is an all-powerful Master. Besides this, "He calleth those things which be not as though they were."2222Romans iv. 17.Therefore, had I even asked for that which does not exist, He could give it to me by creating it. Secondly, I ask of God what is possible, because what is impossible for us is possible for God; and there cannot be any difficulty even in this respect, because God can do for me even that which is impossible in my own opinion. It is our misfortune that our faith is hindered by the short-sightedness of our reason--that spider, that catches the truth in the web of its judgments, its arguments and analogies. Faith embraces and sees suddenly, whilst reason arrives at the truth by circuitous ways; faith is the means of communication between one spirit and another, whilst reason is the means of communication between the spiritually sensual and the spiritually sensual and even simply material: the first is the spirit and the latter the flesh.

All the blessings of the soul, that is, all that constitutes the true life, the peace and the joy of the soul, come from God! This I have proved by experience. My heart tells me so. Thou, O Holy Ghost, art a treasury of blessings!

Having Christ in your heart, fear that you may lose Him, and with Him the peace of your heart; it is hard to begin again; efforts to attach oneself afresh to Him after falling away will be very grievous, and will cost bitter tears to many. Cling to Christ with all your might, gain Him, and do not lose boldness in approaching Him.

You gaze upon the icon of the Saviour and see that He looks at you from it with brightest eyes; this look is the image of how He actually looks upon you with His eyes, that are brighter than the sun, and sees all your thoughts, hears all your heartfelt distress and sighs. The image is an image, and represents in lines and signs that which cannot be delineated, cannot be given in signs, and can be comprehended by faith alone. Believe, then, that the Saviour always protects you and sees each one of you--with all your thoughts, sorrows and sighing, in all your circumstances, as upon the palm of the hand. "Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of My hands; thy walls are continually before Me,"2323Isaiah xlix. 16. says the Lord God. How much consolation and life are contained in these gracious words of the Almighty and Provident God! Therefore pray before the icon of the Saviour as before Himself. The Lover of men is present in it by His grace, and with the eyes depicted in it really looks at you: "The eyes of the Lord are in every place,"2424Proverbs xv. 3.while with His ears as represented on the icon, He hears you. But remember that His eyes are the eyes of God, and His ears are the ears of the omnipresent God.

In the well-intentioned works of men, esteem the light of Christ--"the true light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world"2525St. John i. 9--and read them with love, thanking the Light-giving Christ, Who so richly bestows His light upon those who are zealous for the glory of His name.

Wherever I am, as soon as I raise the eyes of my heart in my affliction to God, the Lover of men immediately answers my faith and prayer, and the sorrow immediately departs. He is at every time and every hour near me, only I do not see it, but I feel it vividly in my heart. Sorrow is the death of the heart, and it is a falling away from God. The expansion, the peace of heart through lively faith in Him, prove more clearly than the day, that God is constantly present near me, and that He dwells within me. What intercessor or angel can set us free from our sins or sorrows? None, but God alone. This is from experience.

Let us measure the worth of our prayers by human measure or by the quality of our relation to other men. How do we behave to other people? Sometimes we express our requests, praises and gratitude to them coldly, heartlessly, out of duty or simply out of politeness, and it is the same when we do anything for them; whilst at other times we do so with warmth, heartily, and lovingly, often only feigning, often really sincerely. We are similarly unequal with God. But this should not be. We must always, from our whole hearts, sing and express to God our praises, our gratitude and our requests; every work must be done before Him with the whole heart. He must be loved and trusted with the whole heart.

11

Faith in God's existence is closely connected with faith in the existence of our own souls, as a part of the spiritual world. God's existence is as evident to the pious mind as its own being, because every thought, good or bad, every desire, every intention, word or act of such a mind is followed by a corresponding change in the state of the heart, peace or trouble, joy or grief, and this is the result of the action upon it of the God of spirits and bodies, Who is reflected in the pious mind as the sun is reflected in a drop of water; the purer the drop is, the better, the clearer will be the reflection; the more turbid the drop, the dimmer will be the reflection; so that in the soul's state of extreme impurity or darkness, the reflection entirely ceases and the soul is left in a state of spiritual darkness, in a state of insensibility. In this state the man having eyes, sees not, and having ears, hears not. Again, in relation to our souls, God may be likened to the outer air in relation to the mercury of the thermometer--with this difference, that the expansion and rest, rise and fall of the mercury proceed from the change in the state of the atmosphere; whilst, in the first case, God remains unchangeable, everlasting and eternally good and just. Whilst the soul, changeable in its relation to God, suffers changes in itself, thus it unavoidably expands and obtains peace of heart when it draws nearer to God by faith and good works, and unavoidably contracts, becomes restless and wearied, when it withdraws itself from God by unlawful acts, want of faith, and unbelief in God's Truth.

The evil spirit tries to scatter prayer as if it were a sand-heap, tries to turn the words into dry sand, without coherency or moisture--that is to say, without fervour of heart. Thus prayer may become either a house built on sand or a house built on a rock. Those build on sand who pray without faith, absently, coldly; such prayer is scattered of itself, and does not bring any profit to him who prays; those build on a rock who, during the whole time of their prayer, have their eyes fixed upon God, and pray to Him as to a living person, conversing face to face with them.

Edifying words, the writings of the Holy Fathers, prayers, and especially the words of the Word Himself, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, are indeed living water; water runs, and the words flow like water; water refreshes and gives life to the body, and edifying words animate the soul, filling it with peace and joy, or with compunction and contrition for sin.

12

Our hope of obtaining that which we ask for during prayer is founded upon faith in God's mercy and bountifulness, for He is the God of mercy and bountifulness, and the Lover of men; therefore at that time it is useful to remind ourselves of former innumerable experiences of mercy and grace bestowed upon men (in Holy Writ and in the lives of the Saints) and upon ourselves. Besides this, in order that prayer may be effectual it is also necessary that those who pray should have already obtained that which they formerly asked for, and firmly believe this with their whole heart. We often receive through prayer that which we have asked for, especially when we pray for that which relates to the salvation of our soul; it is necessary to ascribe this directly to God and His grace, and not to chance. How can there possibly be any chance in the Kingdom of the Almighty God? Nothing can really happen without His will, as "without Him was not anything made that hath been made."2626St. John i. 3.

Many do not pray because it seems to them that they did not receive any gift from God when they prayed before, or because they consider praying unnecessary; they say that God knows everything without our asking, and forget that it is said: "Ask, and it shall be given unto you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you."2727St. Matthew vii. 7.Our requests (prayers) are necessary expressly to strengthen our faith, through which alone can we be saved. "By grace are we saved through faith."2828Ephesians ii. 8."O woman, great is thy faith."2929St. Matthew xv. 28.For this reason the Lord made the woman pray earnestly, in order to awaken her faith and to strengthen it. Such men do not see that they have no faith--the Christian's most precious inheritance, which is as necessary as life itself--that they "make Him a liar"30301 John i. 10. by their unbelief, and that they are the children of the Devil, unworthy of any of God's mercies; that they are going to destruction. It is also necessary that our hearts should burn during prayer with a desire for spiritual blessings, with love to God, and that we should vividly represent to ourselves His extreme mercy to mankind, and His readiness to hear all our prayers with fatherly love. "If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father, which is in heaven, give good things to them that ask him?"3131St. Matthew vii. 11.

God, being the eternal Truth, does not suffer in us even a moment of doubt in the truth. God, as the eternal Mercy, "will have all men to be saved, and to come into the knowledge of the truth."32321 Timothy ii. 4 And we, the children of the merciful God, 13 also must wish with our whole hearts that all men, and even our enemies, should be saved, and must care for this.

Watch your heart during all your life--examine it, listen to it, and see what prevents its union with the most blessed Lord. Let this be for you the science of all sciences, and with God's help you will easily observe what estranges you from God, and what draws you towards Him and unites you to Him. It is the evil spirit more than anything that stands between our hearts and God; he estranges God from us by various passions, or by the desires of the flesh, by the desires of the eyes, and by worldly pride.

Why should it be wonderful if God Himself, the Creator of all things visible and invisible, transforms, transubstantiates bread and wine into His own most pure Body and His own most pure Blood? In these--in the bread and wine--the Son of God does not become again incarnate, for He was already once incarnate, and this is sufficient unto endless ages; but he is incarnate in the very same flesh in which he was before incarnate, in the same manner as He multiplied the five loaves and fed with these five loaves several thousands of people. There are a great many mysteries in nature which my mind cannot grasp, although they have concrete forms, yet they exist, with their mysteries. So also, in this Sacrament of the life-giving Body and Blood, it is a mystery for me, how the bread and wine are made into the Body and Blood of the Lord Himself--but the mystery of the Body and Blood really exists, although it is incomprehensible to me. My Creator (I am only His clay, for God formed me of flesh and blood and endued me with a spirit), as the Most Wise, the infinitely Almighty God, has innumerable mysteries: I myself am a mystery, as the work of His hands. For my soul there is the Spirit of the Lord, and for my soul and body there are His Body and Blood.

In the same way as the soul carries its body, so God carries the whole universe, all the worlds, being Himself more vast than they are; the soul fills the whole body, and the "Spirit of the Lord filleth the world;"3333Wisdom i. 7. only the soul is limited by the body, though not completely, as it may be borne everywhere; and the Spirit of the Lord is not limited by the universe, and is not contained in the world, as the soul is in the Body.

Christ being led into the heart by faith, dwells in it with peace and joy. It is not without reason that it is said of God, "He is Holy, and rests in the saints."3434Exclamation taken from the Vespers.

14

Do not forget yourself in looking upon the beauty of the human face, but look upon the soul; do not look upon the man's garment (the body being his temporary garment), but look upon him who is clothed in it. Do not admire the magnificence of the mansion, but look upon the dweller who lives in it and what he is--otherwise, you will offend the image of God in the man, will dishonour the King by worshipping His servant and not rendering unto Him even the least of the honour due to Him. Also--do not look upon the beauty of the printing of a book, but look upon the spirit of the book; otherwise you will depreciate the spirit and exalt the flesh; for the letters are the flesh, and the contents of the book the spirit. Do not be allured by the melodious sounds of an instrument or of a voice, but by their effect upon the soul, or by the words of the song, consider what their spirit is: if the sounds produce upon your soul tranquil, chaste, holy feelings, then listen to them and feed your soul with them; whilst, if they give rise in your soul to passions, then leave off listening to them, and throw aside both the flesh and the spirit of the music.

The inner man, amidst worldly vanity, amidst the darkness of his flesh, is not so bound by the temptations of the evil one, and looks out more freely early in the morning, just after waking up, like a fish, which sometimes throws itself up playfully on the surface of the water. All the remaining time he is enveloped in almost impenetrable darkness, his eyes are covered by a bandage, which conceals from him the true state of things spiritual and physical. Take advantage of these morning hours, which are the hours of a new life, or of a life renewed by temporary sleep. They show us in part that state in which we shall be when we shall rise up renewed on that great and universal morning of the nightless day of resurrection, or when we shall rid ourselves of this mortal body.

Even during prayer, man is for the greater part not the son of freedom, but the slave of necessity and duty. Look at any man you like, even at a priest. Do many of them pray with a free expanded heart, with living faith and love?

During prayer there sometimes occur moments of deadly darkness and spiritual anguish arising from unbelief of the heart (for unbelief is darkness). Do not let your heart fail you at such moments, but remember that if the divine light has been sent off in you, it always shines in all its splendour and greatness in God Himself, in God's Church, in heaven and 15 on earth, and in the material world in which "His eternal power and Godhead are visible." 3535Romans i. 20.Do not think that truth has failed, because truth is God Himself, and everything that exists has its foundation and reason in Him. Only your own weak, sinful and darkened heart can fail in the truth, for it cannot always bear the strength of the light of truth, and is not always capable of containing its purity, but only it is being or has been purified from its sins, as the first cause of spiritual darkness. The proof of this you may find in yourself. When the light of faith or God's truth dwells in your heart, only then is it tranquil, firm, strong, and living; but when this is cut off, then your heart becomes uneasy, weak as a reed shaken by the wind, and lifeless. Do not pay any attention to this darkness of Satan. Drive it away from your heart by making the sign of the life-giving Cross!

Do not spare yourself, but pray earnestly, even if you have been toiling all day. Do not be negligent in holy prayer; say it to God unto the end from your whole heart, for it is a duty you owe to God. Having put your hand to the plough, do not look back.3636St. Luke ix. 62.

If you allow yourself to pray carelessly, and not from your heart, you will not fall asleep (if you pray at night) until you have wiped out by tears your sin before God. This is not so with everybody, however, but only with the more perfect. Take care, then, not to put your flesh before God, and disdain, for His sake, bodily repose. If you have made a rule to read so many prayers (whether they be long or short, fulfil the reading of all of them well), read the prayers with all conscientiousness, and do not do God's work with your heart divided in two, so that only one half belongs to Him and the remaining half to your own flesh. God is a jealous God, and will not suffer your duplicity, your self-pity. He will deliver you up to the Devil, and the Devil will not let your heart rest for your neglect of God, Who is the true peace of your heart, and Who will always do that which is for your own good, so as to keep your heart near Him; for every insincere prayer removes your heart from God and sets it in opposition to you yourself, whilst every earnest prayer draws your heart nearer to God and makes it perpetually godly. Thus, be assured, if you hurry over your prayers, to give rest to your body, you will lose both spiritual and bodily rest. Oh! by what labour, sweat, and tears is the approach of our heart to God gained! Is it possible that we should again make our very prayers (when careless) the means of our estrangement from God, and that God should not be jealous of this? For He pities us and our former labours, and He desires that we should again unfailingly turn to 16 Him with our whole hearts. He wishes that we should always belong to Him.

Without God (without His omnipresence) there cannot be any single motion of my thought or heart: if there is an action, there must be a reason; if there is a consequence, there must be an origin. This is why the Apostle says: "Not that we are sufficient of ourselves" (capable) "to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God."37372 Corinthians iii. 5. God Himself lives, and that is why my soul also lives.

If my life were prolonged only for a few moments--let us say ten--and five of these ten were moments of peace and quietness, and the remaining five moments of pain and torments, even then I ought undoubtedly to say, "Surely the Giver of Life is with me, and He will provide for me"; likewise, I undoubtedly ought to say, "There is a being in the world Who has the power of death, because the five unfavourable moments must proceed from the being that works against God, for the same cause cannot produce opposite actions. And in me, sinner as I am, at least seventy parts of my spiritual life belong to God, and only thirty parts to the Devil. How is it possible for me, then, not to see my Benefactor constantly before me, and how can I possibly waver mentally in my lively faith in Him?"

Time passes without stopping, and my body, even during my lifetime, constantly changes and passes on, and the whole world as is seen in its motion, also passes on, as though it were hurrying to its appointed end, like a machine set in motion. Where, then, is constancy? Constancy is that which moves and directs all this to its purpose. The first Cause of all that is complex and created is constant, being Itself not complex, and therefore not passing, but eternal. The souls of angels and men, created after the image of the first Cause, are also constant. Everything else is like a soap bubble. I do not lower creation by these words, but only thus speak of it in comparison with the Creator and beatified souls.

Value by its properties that greatest miracle of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, as manifested in the communion, with faith, of His divine mysteries. What is the miracle? The peace-giving and life-giving effect upon your heart, slain by sin, which is so apparent after the uneasiness of heart and the spiritual deadness that often precedes communion. Never consider it from habit as anything ordinary or 17 unimportant: by such thoughts and such a disposition of heart you will incur the wrath of God, and you will not enjoy peace nor feel renewed life after communion. By the most lively and heartfelt gratitude for the holy life-giving Sacrament you will obtain life from the Lord and your faith will increase more and more. Fear and uneasiness proceed from unbelief. Consider their arising during communion as a true sign, that by unbelief you are removing yourself from the Life contained in the Cup and do not pay attention to them. O faith! faith! thou thyself art a miracle to us! It is thou that savest us! "Thy faith hath made thee whole."3838St. Mark v. 34.And after lively faith in God's truth we always go from God in peace; whilst, on the contrary, after unbelief, always without peace. Ah! Satan often enters into us after we have unworthily communicated of the Divine Mysteries, and in every way tries to instil his lie into our hearts--that is, unbelief, for unbelief is the same thing as a lie. The destroyer of men now, as of old, tries in every way to destroy men by his lying, and by various thoughts and desires, and having stolen into the heart in the form of unbelief or any passion, he manifests himself in a manner worthy of him, mostly by impatience and malice, and you see that he is in you; but you will not often at once rid yourself of him, because he usually takes care to close every outlet in your heart by unbelief, obduracy, and others of his brood. "Thy labour is in vain, thou fallen angel, I am the servant of my Lord Jesus Christ. Thou that exaltest thyself in thine arrogance, lowerest thyself by thus violently struggling with me, weak as I am." Say thus mentally to the evil spirit, as he lays his heavy load on your heart and compels you to evil of various kinds. These words will be like fiery scourges to the proud spirit, and he, shamed by your firmness and spiritual wisdom, will flee from you. You at once will perceive, feel, and wonder at the marvellous change in you; the heavy, soul-destroying load in your heart will no longer be there; you will feel so relieved, and will be convinced by your feelings that there are spirits of evil hovering around us and constantly seeking our destruction, poisoning our hearts with the poison of dark and evil thoughts, and endeavouring to destroy our love to mankind and fellowship with them.

As all my misfortunes arise in my invisible mind and my invisible heart, therefore I require the invisible Saviour, Who directs our hearts. O my strength, Jesus, Son of God! O Light of my mind! the peace, the joy of my heart--glory to Thee! Glory to Thee, Deliverer from my invisible enemies, 18 that fight against my mind and my heart, slaying me in the very source of my life, in my most sensitive part!

Keep a strict watch against every appearance of pride: it appears imperceptibly, particularly in time of vexation and irritability against others for quite unimportant causes.

The miraculous effect of the life-giving Cross upon our souls, tortured by the poison of evil, proves to us most undoubtedly and clearly: (1) That we have indeed a soul, a spiritual being; (2) That there are evil spirits, harming our souls; (3) That God exists and our Lord Jesus Christ, and that He is always with us through His Divinity; and (4) That He has indeed accomplished our salvation by His sufferings and death on the Cross, and has destroyed the power of the Devil by means of the Cross. How many proofs of the advantage of our faith there are in the wonderful action upon us of the life-giving Cross alone! Glory be to the Christian faith!

Men who are leading a spiritual life see by the eyes of their heart how the Devil lays his snares, how the angels guide us, and how the Lord, in His Sovereign power, allows the temptations, and how He comforts.

The only means by which you can spend the day in perfect holiness, peace, and without sin, is the most sincere, fervent prayer as soon as you rise from sleep in the morning. It will bring Christ into your heart, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, and will thus strengthen and fortify your soul against any evil; but still it will be necessary for you carefully to guard your heart.

Sometimes in the affliction of your soul you wish to die. It is easy to die, and does not take long; but are you prepared for death? Remember that after death the judgment of your whole life will follow.l3939Hebrews ix. 27 You are not prepared for death, and if it were to come to you, you would shudder all over. Therefore do not waste words in vain. Do not say: "It is better for me to die," but say rather, "How can I prepare for death in a Christian manner?" By means of faith, by means of good works, and by bravely bearing the miseries and sorrows that happen to you, so as to be able to meet death fearlessly, peacefully, and without shame, not as a rigorous law of nature, but as a fatherly call of the eternal, heavenly, holy, and blessed Father unto the everlasting Kingdom. Remember the old man who, being weary of his heavy 19 burden, called for death. When it came he did not wish to die, and preferred to go on carrying his heavy burden.

With the mental eyes of my heart, I see how I mentally breathe Christ in my heart, how He enters into it, and suddenly tranquillises and rejoices it. O, do not leave me to dwell alone, without Thyself, the life-giver, my breath, my joy! It is hard for me to be left without Thee.

Is it possible to pray rapidly without injuring the effect of the prayer? It is possible to those who have learned to pray inwardly with a pure heart. During prayer it is necessary that your heart should sincerely desire that which you ask for, should feel the truth of what you are saying, and this comes naturally to a pure heart. That is why it is capable of praying even rapidly, and at the same time agreeably, to God, as the rapidity in this case does not injure the truth (sincerity) of the prayer. But for those who have not attained the capability of praying sincerely it is necessary to pray slowly, waiting for a corresponding echo in the heart to each word of the prayer. And this is not always soon given to men unaccustomed to prayerful contemplation. Therefore, for such men, it must be laid down as an absolute rule to pronounce the words of the prayer slowly, and with pauses. Wait until every word gives back its corresponding echo in your heart.

Sometimes in his heart a man draws near to God, sometimes he goes far from God, and therefore he experiences either peace and joy, or fear, disturbance, and oppression. The one is life, the other spiritual death. We draw near to God mostly in time of affliction, from which no one can save us but God, to Whom we then turn with our whole heart, and thus approach Him sincerely; whilst we go far from God in times of ease and abundance of earthly blessings, which make the old carnal man proud of himself, and--especially when he thirsts for riches, glory and distinction, and has attained all these--he loses faith from his heart and forgets God, his Judge and Recompenser, forgets the immortality of his soul, and his duty to love God with all his heart and his neighbour as himself.

As an ill-natured man, coming with a request to one who is kind, gentle and meek, for the greater success of his request tries to resemble him, so the Christian, approaching God with a prayer to Him, or to His most pure Mother, or to the angels and saints, in order to insure the success of his prayer, ought to try 20 to resemble as far as possible the Lord Himself, or His most-pure Mother, or the angels and saints. In this lies the secret of drawing near to God, and of His speedily hearing our prayers.

The Holy Trinity sees and hears me; this is the most life-giving assurance for my heart, penetrating it with peace and joy. The benign Mother of God, the Word also sees me, and hears my prayers, and my sighing towards Her, and this is another comforting assurance, constantly realised. Thus will I walk, with the feeling of God's omnipresence and omniscience.

The most striking proof that there is a devil in the world is that men do not feel, or feel very little (though some endeavour to do so), the mercies that God has bestowed upon them in the creation, guidance and redemption: the Devil is a powerful antagonist to everything good and righteous.

The problem of our life is union with God, and sin completely prevents this; therefore flee from sin as from a terrible enemy, as from the destroyer of the soul, because to be without God is death and not life. Let us therefore understand our destination; let us always remember that our common Master calls us to union with Himself.

It is especially necessary for Christians to have a pure heart, so that they may be able to see God with the eyes of the heart, as He is, with His love to us and with all His perfections, as well as to be able to contemplate the beauty of the angels, all the glory of the Holy Virgin, the beauty of Her soul and Her greatness, as the Mother of God, and the beauty of the souls of God's saints, and their love to us; we must see them as they are in themselves, we must contemplate the truths of the Christian faith, with all its sacraments, and feel their greatness; we must see the state of our own souls, and especially our sins. An impure heart--that is, a heart occupied with earthly passions--feeds itself on the carnal desires of the eyes and worldly pride; it cannot see any of the things we have indicated.

Prayer is the lifting up of the mind and heart to God.4040From Philaret's Catechism.From this it is evident that it is quite impossible for anyone to pray whose mind and heart are attached to anything carnal--for instance, to money or to honours--or who has in his heart passions such as hatred or envy for others, because passions usually contract the heart, in the same way as God expands it and gives it true freedom.

21

It is incomprehensible how Jesus Christ is united with the sign of the Cross, and gives it the wonderful power of driving away passions, demons, and to calm the troubled soul. It is likewise incomprehensible how the spirit of our Lord Jesus Christ is united with the bread and wine, transforming them into His own Flesh and Blood, and manifestly cleansing our soul from sins, bringing into it heavenly peace and tranquillity and making it good, gentle, humble, and full of hearty faith and hope. This is partly explained by the fact that the Almighty, creating spirit of our Lord Jesus Christ is everywhere, and that everywhere He "calleth those things which be not as though they were"; 4141Romans iv. 17. and therefore much more can He make what exists other from what it was. And in order that the unbelieving heart should not think that both the sign of the Cross and the name of Christ act miraculously by themselves, apart from and independently of Christ Himself, this same Cross and name of Christ do not perform any miracles, until I see Jesus Christ with the eyes of my heart, or by faith, and until I believe with my whole heart all that which He has accomplished for our salvation.

"I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world."4242St. Matthew xxviii. 20.

So it is, Master: Thou art with us throughout all days; we are not a single day without Thee, and we cannot live without Thy presence near us! Thou art with us especially in the Sacrament of Thy Body and Blood. O, how truly and essentially art Thou present in the Holy Mysteries! Thou our Lord in every liturgy takest upon Thyself a vile body similar to ours in every respect save that of sin, and feedest us with Thy life-giving flesh. Through the Sacrament Thou art wholly with us, and Thy Flesh is united to our flesh, whilst Thy Spirit is united to our soul; and we feel this life-giving, most peaceful, most sweet union, we feel that by joining ourselves to Thee in the Holy Eucharist we become one spirit with Thee as it is said: "He that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit."43431 Corinthians vi. 17.We become like Thee, good, meek and lowly, as Thou hast said of Thyself: "I am meek and lowly in heart."4444St. Matthew xi. 29True it is that often our evil and blind flesh, or the prince of this world, who dwells in our simple flesh, whispers to us that the Sacrament contains only bread and wine, and not the very Body and Blood of our Lord Himself, and sends sight, taste and feeling as his crafty witnesses to this. But we do not allow ourselves to listen to these calumnies and reason thus. To Thee, Lord, everything is possible: Thou createst the flesh of men, animals, fishes, birds, reptiles, of all creatures, Is it possible that for Thyself, Thou, "Who art everywhere, and fillest everything," wilt not create flesh? Not only this, Thou 22 changest a dead substance into a living one--as, for instance, Moses' rod into the serpent--and there is nothing impossible for Thee. Canst Thou not, therefore, create flesh for Thyself out of bread and wine, which are so near to our flesh, being used for our food and drink, and thus being converted into our own flesh and blood? Thou dost not test our faith more than it can bear, for Thou dost not transubstantiate a lump of earth into Thy most-pure Body, but white bread, soft, clean, pleasant to the taste; and Thou dost not create Thy Blood from water, but from wine, called in Holy Scripture the blood of the grape,4545Sirach xxxix. 26. corresponding in colour to that of blood, agreeable to the taste, and rejoicing the heart of man. Thou knowest our infirmity, the weakness of our faith, and therefore Thou condescendest to employ in the Sacrament of Thy Body and Blood the substances most suitable to them. Let us, therefore, firmly believe that under the form of bread and wine we communicate of the true Body and of the true Blood of our Lord; that in the mystery of the Holy Communion, Jesus Christ Himself will dwell with us "alway, even unto the end of the world."4646St. Matthew xxviii. 20.

Our soul is, so to say, a reflection of God's countenance, and the brighter this reflection is, the clearer and calmer is the soul; and the less bright this reflection is, the darker, the more disturbed is the soul. And as our soul is our heart it is necessary that every truth of God should be reflected in it through feeling, through gratitude, and that there should be no reflection in it of any lie. Feel God's love in the most pure mysteries, feel the truth of all prayers. Our heart is a mirror; as the objects of the outer world are reflected in an ordinary mirror, so ought the truth to be reflected with all exactitude in our hearts.

It is good, very good indeed, to be virtuous; the virtuous man is at peace himself, is pleasing to God and agreeable to other people. The virtuous man involuntarily attracts everyone's attention. Why is it so? Because fragrance involuntarily attracts attention and makes everyone wish to breathe it. Look upon the very appearance of the virtuous man, upon his countenance. What sort of a countenance is it? It is the face of an angel. Meekness and humility overspread it, and involuntarily captivate everyone by their beauty. Pay attention to his speech; from it there comes still greater fragrance: here you are as if face to face with his soul, and are enraptured with his sweet converse.

Love calms and agreeably expands the heart and 23 it, whilst hatred painfully contracts and disturbs it. Those who hate others torture and tyrannise over themselves; therefore they are the most foolish of the foolish ones.

When you see your body wasted through sickness, do not murmur against God, but say: "The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord."4747Job i. 21.

You are accustomed to look upon your body as upon your own inalienable property, but that is quite wrong, because your body is God's edifice.

What a great personage a priest is! He is in constant converse with God, and God constantly replies to his speech, as whatever the ceremonies of the Church may be, whatever his prayers, he is speaking to God, and whatever the ceremonies of the Church may be and whatever his prayers, the Lord answers him. How, under these circumstances, when assaulted by passions, can the priest forget that such passions are base, impure, especially for him, and that it is impossible to let them enter into his heart, which Jesus Christ alone ought to fill entirely? A priest is an angel and not a man; everything worldly ought to be left far away behind him. O Lord, "let thy priests be clothed with righteousness"4848Psalm cxxxii. 9.; let them always remember the greatness of their calling and do not let them be entangled in the nets of the world and the Devil; let them be saved from "the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering into their hearts." 4949St. Mark iv. 19.

There are innumerable and various ways by means of which the Devil enters into our soul and removes it from God, pressing upon it with all his being, dark, hateful, and destroying. Whatever the motion of passion may be, he finds a way, and does not neglect the least opportunity of entering the soul. Likewise there are innumerable and various ways for the Holy Ghost to enter it: the way of sincere faith, of true humility, of love to God and to our neighbour, and so on. But, to our misfortune, the destroyer of men from time immemorial makes every effort to obstruct, by all possible means, all these ways for the Holy Ghost to enter the soul. The most usual way to God for us sinners, who have strayed from Him into a far-away land, is the way of painful suffering and bitter tears. Both the Holy Scriptures and actual experience testify that, in order to draw near to God, it is necessary for the sinner to suffer, weep, shed tears, and to amend his deceitful heart: "Draw nigh to God .... be 24 afflicted, and mourn, and weep."5050James iv. 8 and 9.Tears have power to cleanse the wickedness of our heart, and sufferings and affliction are necessary, because through suffering the sinful expansion of the heart is salutarily contracted, and when the heart is thus contracted, tears more easily flow.

When the Devil is in our heart, then we feel an unusual, overwhelming load and fire in the breast and in the heart. The soul contracts extremely and darkens, everything irritates it, it feels an aversion to every good work; the words and acts of other persons in reference to ourselves we interpret falsely and see in them ill-will and designs against our honour, and therefore we feel a deep, deadly hatred towards them; we are infuriated and long for vengeance. "By their fruits ye shall know them."5151St. Matthew vii. 20. There are days when the spirit of evil disturbs me.

Men have fallen into unbelief because they have either completely lost the spirit of prayer, or never had it at all, nor have it now--in short, because they do not pray. The prince of this world has full scope for action in the hearts of such men; he becomes their master. They have not asked and do not ask God's grace in prayer (for God's gifts are only given to those who ask and seek), and thus their hearts, corrupt by nature, become dried up without the vivifying dew of the Holy Ghost, and at last from their extreme dryness they take fire, and blaze with the infernal flame of unbelief and various passions, and the Devil only knows how to inflame the passions that keep up this terrible fire, and triumphs at the sight of the ruin of the unfortunate souls that were redeemed by the blood of Him who has trampled the power of Satan under foot.

A morning prayer. O, God! Creator and Master of the World! Mercifully protect Thy creature, adorned with Thy Godly image, in these morning hours: Let Thine eyes, millions and millions of times brighter than the rays of the sun, vivify and enlighten my soul, darkened and slain by sin. Deliver me from despondency and slothfulness, grant me joy and vigour of soul, so that with a glad heart I may praise Thy mercy, Thy holiness, Thy boundless greatness, and Thy infinite perfections, at every hour and in every place. For Thou, Lord, art my Creator and the Master of my life, and to Thee Thy reasonable creatures every hour ascribe glory and praise, both now and for ever and to ages of ages. Amen.

25

From the time when man, by his own will, fell away from God, he, like an animal that was once domestic, but afterwards grew wild in a thick forest, reluctantly looks back upon the place of his former abode, preferring the darkness of the forest--that is, of this world--to the light of the former place--that is, of God's paradise. It is difficult for him to unite himself to God, and when so united, he often falls away again from Him. It is difficult for him to sincerely believe in God, and in all that He has opened to him, and he does not constantly strive to preserve in his heart the Heavenly gift of faith.

If God does not leave a blade of grass, a flower, or a small leaf of a tree without His good providence, will He leave us? O, let every man be convinced with his whole heart that God is true to Himself in His providence for even the least of His creatures. Let him understand that the Creator invisibly dwells in all His creatures. In the words of our Saviour, God clothes the grass of the field, feeds the fowls of the air.5252St, Matthew vi. 26-30.

In how many ways does not God rejoice us, His creatures, even by flowers? Like a tender mother, in His eternal power and wisdom, He every summer creates for us, out of nothing, these most beautiful plants. Let us enjoy them, not forgetting to glorify the goodness of the Creator, our heavenly Father; let us on our part, too, reply to His love by loving hearts.

He that does not believe in the God Who saves us in difficult circumstances, but is faint-hearted; he that does not wish to render glory to God, that represents Him as not vigilant, but sleeping, not all-powerful and not merciful, thinks falsely of the God of truth, and thus sins grievously. Especially inexcusable are faint-heartedness and unbelief in the man who has already been deemed worthy of often receiving marvellous help from God the Saviour. O, how great a sinner I am!

The invisible, all-pervading God often and sensibly touches my invisible soul, which, from this touch, enjoys wonderful rest and heavenly joy. It is not the eyes which give me tidings of my God (ordinary feelings are destined for the lower objects of creation), not the hearing by means of words or sounds of the voice that carries to me the message of the Incomprehensible, but the soul itself becomes, so to say, dissolved in God.

When you are disturbed and depressed by the wickedness 26 of men, remember how boundlessly you are beloved by the Almighty and All-righteous God, Who suffers the evil until the time comes, and then will justly punish it. You cannot master yourself, your tongue, or one single member of your body. Judge by this what He must be, Who governs the whole world, Who keeps it in such wonderful order, Who governs the whole of mankind, evil, perverted as we are, ever ready as we are to destroy each other, and yet meanwhile more prosperous than needy under His sovereignty. How almighty and wise must He be to govern such heterogeneous multitudes! Trust in Him entirely.

When the matter relates to God's Mysteries, do not inwardly ask: how can this be? You do not know how God created the whole world from nothing; you cannot and may not know here either how God mysteriously works. God's mystery must remain a mystery for you, because you are not God, and cannot know all that is known to the eternally Wise, Almighty God. You are the work of His hands: His most insignificant creature. Remember that there was a time when there was nothing and that afterwards all that now exists was created out of nothing by the Word of God. "Without Him was not anything made that was made."5353St. John i. 3.

You who pray, give God your heart, that loving true heart, with which you love your children, your father and mother, your benefactors and friends, and in which you feel the sweetness of pure unfeigned love.

Sometimes during a long-continued prayer only a few minutes are really pleasing to God and constitute true prayer and true service to God. The chief thing in prayer is the nearness of the heart to God, as proved by the sweetness of God's presence in the soul.

"Let it be as I will, and not as thou wilt." Such is the mighty voice of God, which our soul ever hears when it has fallen into sin and desires to emerge from a state of spiritual, sinful affliction. "Let it be as I will: either repent from the depths of your heart in proportion to the sin, and return to the road that leads to life, shown by Me; either bear the punishment, corresponding to the sin and determined by My justice, or your sin will torment you as a deviation from My laws." And only then will our soul enjoy peace when we truly repent from the depths of our heart in proportion 27 to the sin, or bear the punishment due from God. O! Almighty and most just power of our God, invisibly governing our invisible souls, all glory to Thee, glory to Thee, God our Saviour! Thy will be done in us!

How easily and speedily the Lord can save us!--instantaneously, unexpectedly, imperceptibly. Often during the day I have been a great sinner, and at night, after prayer, I have gone to rest, justified and whiter than snow by the grace of the Holy Ghost, with the deepest peace and joy in my heart! How easy it will be for the Lord to save us too in the evening of our life, at the decline of our days! O! save, save, save me, most gracious Lord; receive me in Thy heavenly Kingdom! Everything is possible to Thee." To his own master he standeth or falleth. Yes, he shall be holden up: for the Lord is able to make him stand."5454Rom. xiv. 4.

That which is especially important and constitutes the life of the being the Creator has placed and concealed far away in the very depths within that being; we see this everywhere. Thus in the man the soul is in the very midst of his being--in the heart; and therefore the soul is often called the heart and the heart the soul. "Therefore is my spirit overwhelmed within me, my heart within me is desolate."5555Psalm cxliii. 4.

"Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me."5656Psalm li. 10.

Our God is "merciful and gracious, slow to anger and plenteous in mercy."5757Psalm ciii. 8.

He is not a God of torments and punishments. Our torments are the fruit of our sins and the work of the incorporeal fallen spirits. Therefore if you suffer grievously, only blame your sins and the Devil, but chiefly yourself, because the Devil would not do you any harm if he did not find anything in you that he could fasten on to.

"I the Lord thy God am a jealous God."5858Exodus xx. 5.

"My glory will I not give to another."5959Isaiah xlii. 8.These words of the God of glory are fulfilled every time when in my heart I ascribe the glory of my God's works, accomplished in me by the Holy Gifts, to anything or anybody else and do not ascribe them with my whole heart to Him. He instantly becomes jealous of the glory of His righteous, ever-miraculous, vivifying Mysteries, and in His justice punishes my soul with His Fatherly rod! O then my soul clearly hears the voice of its God: "My glory will I not give to another. As you 28 do not ascribe to Me the glory due to Me, so evident to you in my Mysteries, I strike you inwardly with the rod of My truth so that you may thus know and heartily believe that I never will give My glory to another. I cleanse your sins and make your soul whiter than snow by My blood; I visit your soul with peace and joy; I warm and cherish you as a mother cherishes her child, and I instil within you My meekness and humility; I pour love into your heart; I completely transform and change you--to your own wonder into a new man--and to whom else shall I give the glory of My works? I am eternally unchangeable. 'God is not a man, that He should lie; neither the son of man, that He should repent.'" 6060Numbers xxiii. 19.

The invisible God acts upon my soul as if He were visible, as if He were present here before me, knowing all my thoughts and feelings; every inward slothfulness, stubbornness, or other passion is always accompanied by a corresponding punishment. In general, if my inward disposition is unworthy of God, of His holiness, then I suffer punishment for it in my heart, a devouring fire; and if it is a worthy one, then I am joyful and at peace.

No, whatever you may say, a man is sometimes too irritable and too evil to be so of himself, but he becomes so through the most zealous endeavours of the Devil. Only watch yourself or others at the time of irritation and wickedness, when you yourself or anyone else would wish to destroy the person who is inimical to you, really or in your imagination; compare this state with that which follows it (sometimes soon afterwards by the action of your Guardian Angel, tranquillity, meekness and kindness, either in yourself or in anyone whom you watch) with the former opposite condition, and you will say to yourself: "No, this seems quite a different man from him, who, not long ago, was so full of evil and rage; this man is the one' out of whom the devils were departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus [meek and humble], clothed and in his right mind.'6161St. Luke viii. 35. In him there is not even a shadow of the former wickedness and the former foolishness!" Some deny the existence of evil spirits; but such phenomena in the human life clearly prove their existence. If every phenomenon has its corresponding reason, and if the tree is to be judged by its fruits, then who will not see in the madly-infuriated man the presence of the evil spirit, who cannot show himself otherwise than in a manner worthy of him? Who will not see the chief of all evil in the outpouring of anger? Besides 29 this, a man subjected to irritability and breathing malice clearly feels the presence of a hostile evil power in his breast; it produces in the soul quite the reverse of that which has been said by the Saviour of His own presence: "My yoke is easy and my burden is light."6262St. Matthew xi. 30.By the presence of the former spirit one feels ill at ease and oppressed, both in body and soul.

You hear in church oftener than anything the voices of the priests, deacons, readers, and singers praying God to have mercy upon us. What does this signify? It signifies that all of us who are in God's Temple are deserving, by our sins, of God's punishment, and that before everything--on our coming into the church--we must remember that we are sinners, and have come to the Lord of Heaven and Earth, to our Creator and Benefactor, Whom we have daily and hourly angered by our iniquities, to ask for mercy, each one for himself, and also, in accordance with Christian love, for others. The prayers asking for mercy are called in the Russian orthodox Church "great," "small," and "redoubled." As there is not a single superfluous word in the church service, it is especially necessary at the time of the singing of the redoubled litany to pray to God most fervently, from the very depths of a most contrite heart, as we are reminded at the very beginning of the litany by the words: "Let us say with our whole souls and with our whole understanding." At this time we must lay aside even the slightest coldness, the slightest inattention of heart, and, burning with the spirit of humility, becoming all attention, offer up to the Creator our most fervent prayers to have mercy upon us sinners. But what do we see at the time of the exclamations of the priest and the singing by the singers of the great and redoubled litany? For the greater part, the usual inattention and indifference on the part of those praying.

As after having unworthily communicated, so also after having prayed unworthily and coldly, our soul feels equally ill at ease. This means that God does not enter our heart, being offended at its unbelief and coldness, and allows the evil spirit to nestle in our hearts, in order to make us feel the difference between His own presence and its yoke.

A terrible truth. Impenitent sinners after their death lose every possibility of changing for good, and therefore remain unalterably given up to everlasting torments (for sin cannot but torment). How is this proved? It is plainly proved by the actual state of some sinners and by the nature of sin itself--to keep the man its prisoner and to close every 30 outlet to him. Who does not know how difficult it is, without God's special grace, for a sinner to turn from the way of sin that is so dear to him into the path of virtue? How deeply sin takes root in the heart of the sinner, and in all his being! how it gives the sinner its own way of looking at things, by means of which he sees them quite differently to what they are in reality, and shows him everything in a kind of alluring light! It is for this reason that we see that sinners very often do not even think of their conversion, and do not consider themselves to be great sinners, because their eyes are blinded by their self-love and pride. And if they do consider themselves sinners, then they give themselves up to the most terrible despair, which overwhelms their mind with thick darkness and greatly hardens their heart. But for the grace of God, what sinner would have returned to God? For it is the nature of sin to darken our souls, to bind us hand and foot. But the time and place for the action of grace is here alone: after death there remain only the prayers of the Church, and these prayers can be efficacious for penitent sinners alone--that is, only for those who have developed in their souls the capability of receiving God's mercy or of benefiting by the prayers of the Church--that is, the light of the good works which they have taken with them out of this life. Impenitent sinners are undoubtedly sons of perdition. What does my experience tell me when I am the prisoner of sin? I am tormented sometimes the whole day, and cannot turn to God with my whole heart, because sin hardens my heart, making God's mercy inaccessible to me. I burn in the fire, and willingly remain in it, because sin has bound my powers, and I--like one inwardly chained--am unable to turn to God until He, seeing my helplessness, my humility, and my tears, takes pity on me and bestows His grace upon me. It is not without reason that a man given over to sin is spoken of as "delivered into chains of darkness."63632 Peter ii. 4.

Your spiritual life is clearly divided into two states, differing acutely one from the other: into a state of peace, joy, expansion of heart, and into a state of suffering, fear and contraction of heart. The causes of the first state are the actions of your soul when in conformity with the Creator's laws; and the cause of the second state, the transgression of His holy laws. I always can and do notice the beginning of one or the other state; I have the consciousness of the one and the other state. Therefore it always happens that by doing away with the reasons from which the state of suffering and contraction of heart have proceeded, the consequences--that is, the suffering and the contraction of the soul--are also done away with.

31

"Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates."64642 Corinthians xiii. 5, 13. Truly, Christ dwells in me. Meanwhile, I have until now been a reprobate; I did not think and was not firmly convinced that the Lord is in me. It is He, the All-Holy, that is so sensitive in me to the slightest impurity of heart; it is He Who incites me to drive away from my soul the very germ of sin in the heart. But, alas! Satan is also there, ready to devour me at every step, and contest me from God.

When you are struck by other people's suffering, and the contraction of their souls, so that you are induced to pray for them with a pitying and contrite heart, pray to God to have mercy upon them and to forgive them their sins, as you would pray for the forgiveness of your own sins--that is, implore God with tears to pardon them; likewise pray for the salvation of others as you would pray for your own salvation. If you attain to this and make it a habit, you will receive from God an abundance of spiritual gifts, the gifts of the Holy Ghost, Who loves the soul that cares for the salvation of others, because He Himself, the most Holy Spirit, wishes to save us all in every possible way, if only we do not oppose Him, and do not harden our hearts." The Spirit Itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered."6565Romans viii. 26.

We often hear from others, or sometimes read in the works of others, what God has placed in our mind and heart, what we ourselves have cherished--that is, we often meet our favourite thoughts in others, and it seems to us as though they had been taken away from us, as though they had been new ones and formed our own exclusive property. Presumptuous thoughts! What? Is there not only one God, the Lord of all intellects? Is not His Spirit in all who seek for truth? Have we not one sole Enlightener, "which lighteth every man that cometh into the world."6666St. John i. 9.

Glory to the one God, Glory to Him Who loves all and bountifully bestows upon all His spiritual and bodily gifts! Glory to Him who is no respecter of persons and Who reveals the mysteries of His love, omnipotence and wisdom unto babes!6767St. Luke x. 21.

God's saints are near to believing hearts and, like the truest and kindest of friends, are ready in a moment to help the faithful and pious who call upon them with faith and love. We have for the most part to send, and have sometimes to wait long for earthly helpers, whilst we have not to send for nor wait long for spiritual helpers: the faith of Him who prays can place them 32 close to his very heart in a moment, and he will as speedily receive through faith full spiritual help. In saying this, I speak by experience; by this I mean the frequent deliverance from affliction of heart through the intercession and patronage of the saints, and especially through the intercession of Our Lady, the Holy Virgin Mary. Probably some would say that this is the action of simple and firm faith, and a determined assurance in our deliverance from affliction, and not the intercession of the saints for us before God. No, it is not so. How can this be proved? It can be proved by the fact that if I do not call upon the saints known to me in hearty prayer, without making any distinction, if I do not see them with my spiritual vision, then I shall obtain no help, however great assurance I may have felt of being saved without their help. I recognise, I feel clearly, that I receive help through the names of those saints upon whom I have called, because of my lively faith in them. This happens just as everything happens in the usual order of earthly things. First, I see my helpers by means of earnest faith; then, seeing them, I pray to them also with my whole heart, invisibly but intelligibly to myself; after this, having received invisible help in quite an imperceptible manner, but sensibly to my soul, I simultaneously receive a strong conviction that this help has been obtained from them, just as a sick man, cured by a doctor, is convinced that he has been cured precisely by that doctor, and not by anyone else; that his illness has passed away not by itself, but through the help of this particular doctor. All this comes to pass so simply that it is only necessary to have eyes in order to see.

I am a man--and the grace, the truth and the righteousness of God are continually working within me. It is God Who at one time cherishes and comforts me, and at another punishes and afflicts me with sorrows for any inward motion of the soul adverse to Him. But the earth is full of men like me. Therefore, in them also God manifests His mercy, truth and righteousness, as in myself. "He worketh all in all."6868Corinthians xii. 6.

Let no one think that sin is something unimportant--no, sin is a terrible evil, that destroys the soul, both now and in the future life. The sinner in the future life will be bound hand and foot (meaning the soul) and cast into outer darkness. As the Saviour said: "Bind him hand and foot and cast him into outer darkness;"6969St. Matthew xxii. 13. that is, he entirely loses the freedom of his spiritual powers, which, being created for free activity, suffer through this a kind of overwhelming inactivity for every 33 good work: in his soul the sinner recognises his powers and at the same time he feels that these powers are bound by unbreakable chains--"he shall be holden with the cords of his sin." 7070Proverbs v. 22.To this must be added the terrible torment arising from the very sins themselves, from the consciousness of our own foolishness during the earthly life, and from the image of the angry Creator. Even in this present life sin binds and destroys the soul. What God-fearing man does not know what sorrow and oppression strike his soul, what torturing, burning fire rages in his breast when he has sinned? But besides binding and destroying the soul as it does temporarily, sin also destroys it eternally if we do not repent here of our sins and our iniquities from our whole heart. Here is also a proof by experience that sin destroys the soul temporarily and eternally. If it happens to any God-fearing person to go to sleep without having repented of the sin, or the sins, he has committed during the day, and which have tormented his soul, these torments will accompany him the whole night, until he has heartily repented of his sin, and washed his heart with tears (this is also from experience). The torments of sin will wake him up from sweet sleep, because his soul will be oppressed, bound a prisoner by sin. Now, suppose that the man who has gone to sleep in any sin and is tormented by it, is overtaken during the night by death: is it not clear that his soul will go into the other life in torment, and that as after death there is no place for repentance, he will be tormented there according to the measure of his sins? The Holy Scriptures also testify to this.7171St. Matthew xxv. 46.

Watch yourselves--your passions especially--in your home life, where they appear freely, like moles in a safe place. Outside our own home, some of our passions are usually screened by other more decorous passions, whilst at home there is no possibility of driving away these black moles that undermine the integrity of our soul.

For the soul of the pious, God-fearing man there is an invisible spiritual intercourse with God. Like a father or a stern teacher, the Lord at one time approves, at another condemns our thoughts, desires and intentions; at one time He says that this is good, and that bad. He rewards us for the good and punishes us for the evil; and all this is at once evident to the soul.

Begin to fulfil the commandments relating to small things, and you will come to fulfil the commandments relating to great 34 things: small things everywhere lead to great ones. Begin by fulfilling the commandment of fasting on Wednesdays and Fridays, or the tenth commandment relating to evil thoughts and desires, and you will eventually learn to fulfil all the commandments. "He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much."7272St. Luke xvi. 10.

A man that only dreams of this perishable life and does not think of the eternal, heavenly life! Consider--what is your transitory life? It is a constant laying in of fuel (meaning food) in order that the fire of our life may continue to burn and should not grow feeble, in order that our house (meaning the body) should keep warm, and that the continually changing life of our body should be restored by means of the nourishing parts of the organs of other living creatures, who are deprived of life in order to keep up the life of our body. Indeed, what an insignificant cobweb your life is, man! You are obliged twice daily to strengthen the interior of your body by means of supports to keep it sound (that is, you are obliged to fortify yourself twice every day by food and drink), and every night, daily, you must lock up your soul in your body, shutting up all the sensations of the body, like the shutters of a house, in order that the soul may not live outside the body, but within it, giving it warmth and life. What a cobweb your life is, and how easy it is to tear it asunder! Be humble and reverent before the Life eternal!

Truth is the foundation of everything that has been created. Let truth be also the foundation of all your works (both inward and outward), and especially the foundation of your prayers. Let all your life, all your works, all your thoughts, and all your desires be founded upon truth.

Take the trouble to spend only one single day according to God's commandments, and you will see yourself, you will feel by your own heart, how good it is to fulfil God's will (and God's will in relation to us is our life, our eternal blessedness). Love God with all your heart at least as much as you love your father, your mother, and your benefactors; value with all your strength His love and His benefits to you (go over them mentally in your heart, think how He gave you existence and with it all good things, how endlessly long He bears with your sins, how endlessly He forgives you them; for the sake of your hearty repentance, by virtue of the suffering and death upon the Cross of His only-begotten Son, what blessedness He has promised you in eternity, if you are faithful to Him); enumerate besides His mercies, which are endlessly great and manifold. Furthermore, love 35 every man as yourself--that is, do not wish him anything that you would not wish for yourself; think, feel for him just as you would think and feel for your own self; do not wish to see in him anything that you do not wish to see in yourself; do not let your memory keep in it any evil caused to you by others, in the same way as you would wish that the evil done by yourself should be forgotten by others; do not intentionally imagine either in yourself or in another anything guilty or impure; believe others to be as well-intentioned as yourself, in general, if you do not see clearly that they are evilly disposed; do unto them as you would to yourself, or even do not do unto them as you would not do unto yourself, and then you will see what you will obtain in your heart--what peace, what blessedness! You will be in paradise before reaching it--that is, before the paradise in heaven you will be in the paradise on earth. "The kingdom of God is within you," 7373St. Luke xvii. 21. says the Lord. "He that dwelleth in love," teaches the Apostle, "dwelleth in God and God in him." 74741 John iv. 16.

"Worship God in spirit and in truth." In truth, for instance, when you say, "Hallowed be Thy Name." Do you really desire that God's name should be hallowed by the good works of others and by your own? When you say, "Thy Kingdom come," do you indeed desire the coming of God's Kingdom? Do you wish to be the abode of the Spirit of God, and not the abode of sin? Would you not more willingly live in sin? When you say, "Thy will be done," do you not rather seek your own will than that of God? Ay, it is so! When you say, "Give us this day our daily bread," do you not say otherwise in your heart, "I do not need to ask this of Thee--I have enough without asking; let the poor ask for this"? Or else, do we not greedily seek for more, and are not satisfied with the little, or with that which God has given us? We do not thank God for what we have as we ought to. In the prayer: "And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us," do you not think in yourself: "God knows that I am not such a great sinner. It seems to me that I do not live any worse than others, and there is no need for me to ask that my trespasses or sins should be forgiven"? Or else when you thus pray is there not any displeasure or anger in your heart against anyone?--for if so, you lie shamelessly to God in your prayer. You say, "And lead us not into temptation," but do you not yourself rush impetuously into every sin, without even being tempted? You say, "Deliver us from evil," but do you not live in friendship with the Devil or with evil of every kind, of which the Devil is chief? Beware, then, that your tongue is not in discordance with your heart; see that you do not lie to God in your prayer. Always keep this in view when you say the 36 Lord's Prayer, as well as when you say other prayers. Watch whether your heart agrees with, everything that your tongue pronounces.

The purer the heart is, the larger it is, and the more able it is to find room within it for a greater number of beloved ones; whilst the more sinful it is, the more contracted it becomes, and the less number of beloved can it find room for, because it is limited by self-love, and that love is a false one; we love ourselves in objects unworthy of the immortal soul—in silver and gold, in adultery, in drunkenness, and such like.

If God communicates an invincible, incomprehensible Divine power to the Life-giving Cross, then why should it be wonderful that He communicates a similar incomprehensible power, in order to regenerate our nature, to the most pure, terrible and Life-giving Sacrament of His Body and Blood? O, how great art Thou, Lord! and how wonderful are Thy works! How endless is Thy omnipotence! Whatever is touched by Thy power and Thy grace becomes life-giving.

If you wish to correct anyone from his faults, do not think of correcting him solely by your own means: you would only do harm by your own passions, for instance, by pride and by the irritability arising from it; "but cast thy burden upon the Lord,"7575Psalm lv. 22. and pray to God "Who trieth the hearts and reins,"7676Psalm vii. 9. with all your heart, that He Himself may enlighten the mind and heart of that man. If He sees that your prayer breathes love, and that it really comes from the depth of your heart, He will infallibly fulfil the desire of your heart, and you yourself will soon tell, seeing the change that has taken place in him for whom you have prayed, that it is the work of "the right hand of God, the most High."7777Psalm lxxvii. 10.

Who is it that so wisely, delicately and beautifully arranges and transforms the ugly--that is, the sightless, formless substance of the earth into flowers? Who gives them their wonderful forms? Creator, grant that we may salute in the flowers Thy wisdom, Thy goodness. Thine omnipotence.

Our inward disposition, even when unexpressed by outward signs, strongly affects the inward disposition of others. This very often happens, though it is not everyone that notices it. Supposing that I am angry, or that I have unkind thoughts of another; he feels it, and begins likewise to have unkind 37 thoughts about me. There is a certain communication between our souls, besides our bodily senses. As regards the action of our soul upon others through the senses, it would seem that one soul can act wonderfully upon another man through the sense of sight, even when he is at a distance from us, but as long as he is accessible to our sight, and is alone at the time when we direct our gaze upon him. Thus by the eye we can place another man in an awkward position, and confuse him. It has happened to me more than once to look fixedly out of the window of my house at the people passing by, and they, as if drawn by some power to the very window from which I was looking, looked round at the window, seeking to find a human face in it; whilst others became confused, suddenly quickened their pace, and set themselves to rights, readjusting their neckerchiefs, hats, etc.; there is some kind of mystery in this.

Observe the difference between the presence of the life-giving spirit and the presence of the spirit that deadens and destroys your soul. When there are good thoughts in your soul you feel happy and at ease; when peace and joy are in your heart, then the spirit of good, the Holy Ghost, is within you; whilst when evil thoughts or evil motions of the heart arise within you, you feel ill at ease and oppressed; when you are inwardly troubled, then the spirit of evil, the crafty spirit, is within you. When the spirit of evil is in us, then, together with oppression of heart and disturbance, we generally feel a difficulty in drawing near to God in our heart, because the evil spirit binds our soul, and will not let it raise itself to God. The evil spirit is a spirit of doubt, unbelief--of passions, oppression, grief and disturbance; whilst the spirit of good is one of undoubting faith, of virtue, of spiritual freedom and breadth--a spirit of peace and joy. Know by these tokens when the Spirit of God is within you, and when the spirit of evil, and, as often as possible, raise your grateful heart to the most Holy Spirit that gives you life and light, and flee with all your power from doubt, unbelief, and the passions through which the evil serpent, the thief and destroyer of our souls, creeps in.

Sometimes in the lives of pious Christians there are hours when God seems to have entirely abandoned them--hours of the power of darkness; and then the man from the depths of his heart cries unto God: "Why hast Thou turned Thy face from me, Thou everlasting Light? For a strange darkness has covered me, the darkness of the accursed evil Satan, and has obscured all my soul. It is very grievous for the soul to be 38 in his torturing darkness, which gives a presentiment of the torments and darkness of hell. Turn me, O Saviour, to the light of Thy commandments and make straight my spiritual way, I fervently pray Thee."

If you do not yourself experience the action of the wiles of the evil spirit, you will not know, and will not appreciate and value as you ought, the benefits bestowed upon you by the Holy Spirit: not knowing the spirit that destroys, you will not know the Spirit that gives life. Only by means of direct contrasts of good and evil, of life and death, can we clearly know the one and the other: if you are not subjected to distresses and dangers of bodily or spiritual death, you will not truly know the Saviour, the Life-Giver, who delivers us from these distresses and from spiritual death. Jesus Christ is the consolation, the joy, the life, the peace and the breadth of our hearts! Glory to God, the Most Wise and Most Gracious, that He allows the spirit of evil and death to tempt and torment us! Otherwise we should not have sufficiently appreciated and valued the comfort of grace, the comfort of the Holy Ghost the Comforter, the Life-Giving!

The Lord God, as Life itself and the superabundance of Life, everlastingly the same, as has been said by St. Gregory the Theologian, moves and remains in the Three Persons--that is, God is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. You ask how there can be Three Persons in God. I answer: I do not understand how; but I know that it must be so and cannot be otherwise. You further ask: why is the Third Person in God called the Spirit, and why is He a separate Person, when, without this, God is a Spirit? I answer: God's Spirit is called Spirit in relation to His creatures. God breathed through the Third Person of the Trinity, the Holy Ghost, and there appeared at His call an innumerable multitude of spirits. "All the host of them by the breathing of His mouth."7878Psalm xxxiii. 6.

He breathed through His Spirit into the human structure, "and man became a living soul;"7979Genesis ii. 3. and from this breath men were born and will yet be born until the end of the world, according to the commandment: "Be fruitful and multiply." 8080Genesis i. 28.If by His Holy Spirit God has created such separate individual creatures, then how can the Holy Ghost be other than a separate Person or an individual creating Being Himself? "The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is everyone that is born 39 of the Spirit."8181St. John iii. 8.You see that the Holy Ghost is called the Spirit as one of the Persons of the Holy Trinity. If there are innumerable multitudes of created individual spirits, then why should God Himself remain without a spirit, as without One of the Persons of the Trinity, separate and independent? Is not the Son the Wisdom of the Father, personal and living, indispensable to God? Look upon yourself. You are a creature; and even in you there is such wisdom that many wonder at it; sometimes you even create wonderful things, and you are extolled as the creator of these things. And yet this is only you, an insignificant, infirm creature. Then consider how can there not be a personal Wisdom in God?—how can God be a Creator without His own Living, Independent Wisdom? Look upon everything in the world, how wise everything is!—how in the smallest things you may notice the amazing wisdom and the wonderful work of the All-Wise thought with its marvellous accuracy and irreproachable neatness! How can God be without a Personal Wisdom? Consider, how can God, Who has created a multitude of reasonable, individual, wise, living creatures, not engender for Himself a Personal Wisdom? Is it possible? Is it reasonable? Is it in accordance with all the other perfections of the Creator? Thus in God there must be a Personal Wisdom, or the Personal Word of the Father, as well as the Life-giving Holy Ghost, Who proceedeth from the Father and Who resteth in the Son. In you there is breath, material and impersonal, while in God, as the Life Itself, there is a Personal Spirit, not diffusible, but single and giving life to everything.

The unnatural mastery of the flesh over the spirit is expressed, amongst other things, by the fact that the spirit is as though buried within the flesh, and is bound by it. This is especially visible when the matter relates to God's service; then the man mostly draws near to God with his lips only--that is, with his flesh, falsely, and not with his heart, not with his spirit, and thus does not worship Him truly. Indeed, we often so live as though we had no spirit in us, and the highest degree of human depravity is manifested by the fact that the spirit is completely stifled and the man becomes as though he were flesh alone. "My Spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh."8282Genesis vi. 3.

Look more closely into the matter of men's reverence for God; you will see how in this respect the flesh endeavours to dominate over the spirit. In the saints we see the dominance of the spirit over the flesh, because they live by the spirit and see the spirit throughout the whole world, the Wisdom, the 40 Omnipotence, and Goodness of God; they see in every phenomenon, in every work, the impress of the spirit. In sensual men the dominance of the flesh over the spirit is shown by their only seeing that which represents itself to their senses; in fact, as the saying is, they do not see beyond their nose. The carnal, sensual man looks at the world and sees it like an unreasoning animal: he does not marvel at the Wisdom, the everlasting Power and the Goodness of the Creator, as shown in it; when he reads a holy book, he sees in it only the letters; when he prays he says the prayers mechanically, without penetrating into their spirit: he does not know the art of worshipping in spirit and in truth. The flesh predominates also in men's education. (Look, are pupils in the schools taught that which concerns the Christian more than anything--Prayer? Are they taught to see God?) The flesh will prevail in the world until the end of ages. "When the Son of man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?"8383St. Luke xviii. 8.And unbelief is the work of the flesh, as it was in the beginning of the world.

It is pleasing to God when a man begins to notice His action in the heart, because He is the Light and the Truth, whilst the Devil especially fears this, being himself darkness and falsehood; and the darkness cannot come to the light for fear its doings shall be revealed. The Devil is powerful only through darkness, deceit, and falsehood; reveal his falsehood, place it before the light, and all will disappear. He induces men into every passion through deceit, and thus he lulls them to sleep and prevents their seeing things in their true light. The Devil's covering lies over many things.

Why does not the sinful soul obtain remission of its sins before it feels all their foolishness, all their destructiveness, and all their falsity from the whole heart? Because the heart is our soul; as it committed the sins, finding them at the time pleasant and plausible, therefore it must now repent of them and recognise them as leading to destruction and entirely wrong. This repentance is accomplished painfully in the heart, as the desire to sin is also usually in the heart.

Do not be disturbed when malice rages within you and strives to discharge itself in words of bitterness, but command it to be silent and to die within you. Otherwise, being accustomed to see your obedience and to flow from your lips, it will master you. As water standing behind an earth dam, and finding an aperture, washes it wider and wider and filters through it, if we do not strengthen the dam, or strengthen it insufficiently, at last, with 41 growing weakness on our part and with repeated efforts, the water gets through with greater and greater force, so that at last it becomes very difficult, and even impossible to stop it; so also with malice hidden in the heart of man: if we let it pierce through once, twice, and thrice, it will pour out more and more powerfully, and may at last break through and overflow your dam. Learn that in the soul there are waters of evil; as has been said by the Psalmist: "The waters are come in unto my soul."8484Psalm lxix. 1.

When you have sinned against God, and your sins torment, burn you, then seek quickly the only Sacrifice for sins, eternal and living, and lay your sins before the face of that Sacrifice. Do not think you can obtain salvation by your own means.

The Lord might have made the whole world, heaven and earth, into His own body; or instead of creating the world, He might have created for Himself a temple for His body; and it is only on your account that He deigned to create to Himself a Body similar to your own, in order to save you, and having created the world from nothing, He has also created out of a small part of it His Body to give life to you, leaving the world to remain as He created it. O goodness and mercy of God! "We are members of His Body"8585Ephesians v. 30. through the communion of His life-giving Mysteries!

The world, as the work of the living, Most Wise God, is full of life. There are life and wisdom in everything, and we find everywhere the expression of thought in the whole, as also in every separate part. This is the true Book, from which, though not so clearly as from revelation, we may learn the knowledge of God. Before the world was, there was only the living infinite God. When the world was called into being from its non-existence, God, of course, did not become finite; all the fulness of life and of infinity have remained in Him. But this fulness of life and infinity are also expressed in creatures, living and organic, which are innumerable, and which are all endued with life.

The world, and especially the man, are finite. The world is only a point of rest for corporeal creatures, in order that they should not disappear into infinity.

The Holy Scriptures speak more truly and more clearly of the world than the world itself or the arrangement of the 42 earthly strata; the scriptures of nature within it, being dead and voiceless, cannot express anything definite. "Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth?"8686Job xxxviii. 4.Were you with God when He created the universe? "Who hath directed the Spirit of the Lord, or being His counseller, hath taught Him?"8787Isaiah xl. xiii.And yet you geologists boast that you have understood the mind of the Lord, in the arrangement of strata, and maintained it in spite of Holy Writ! You believe more in the dead letters of the earthly strata, in the soulless earth, than in the Divinely-inspired words of the great prophet Moses, who saw God.

You do not understand how the saints in Heaven can hear us when we pray to them. But how do the rays of the sun bend down from Heaven to us, lighting everything throughout the earth? The saints in the spiritual world are like the rays of the sun in the material world. God is the eternal, life-giving Sun, and the saints are the rays of this wise Sun. As the eyes of the Lord are constantly looking upon the earth and upon terrestrial beings, so also the eyes of the saints cannot but turn towards the same direction as the provident gaze of the Lord of all creatures towards where their treasures (their bodies, their works, the holy places, and the persons devoted to them) are to be found. "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."8888St. Matthew vi. 21.

You know how quickly, how far, and how clearly the heart can see (especially the objects of the spiritual world); you notice this in all the sciences, especially in the spiritual ones, where a great deal is adopted by faith only (the vision of the heart). The heart is the eye of the human being. The purer it is, the quicker, farther, and clearer it can see. But with God's saints this spiritual eye is refined, even during their lifetime, to the highest degree of purity possible for man, and after their death, when they have become united to God, through God's grace it becomes still clearer and wider in the limits of its vision. Therefore the saints see very clearly, widely, and far: they see our spiritual wants; they see and hear all those who call upon them with their whole hearts--that is, those whose mental eyes are fixed straight upon them, and are not darkened or dimmed when so fixed by unbelief and doubt; in other words, when the eyes of the heart of those who pray, so to say, meet the eyes of those they call upon. This is a mysterious vision. He who is experienced will understand what is meant. Therefore, how easy it is to communicate with the saints! It is only necessary to purify the eye of the heart, to fix 43 it firmly upon a saint known to you, to pray to him for what you want, and you will obtain it. And what is God in reference to sight? He is all sight, all light, and all knowledge. He everlastingly fills both Heaven and earth, and sees everything in every place. "The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good."8989Proverbs xi. 3.

A hearty belief in the spiritual world, especially in the all-enlightening and all-life-giving Sun, rejoices and vivifies the soul that possesses a pure conscience. Faith ought to reach the eye of the heart; this means that the soul ought to stand as though it were higher than anything sensual, higher than anything carnal, higher than its dark nature, and ought to penetrate with as pure a vision of the heart as possible into the spiritual world. Here it will be happy, for here is its true life, its peace and its joy. This is from experience.

Imagination and representation are the vision of the heart, or of the soul, creating or reproducing a certain object; therefore this vision is rapid, instantaneous, and bears a spiritual character. It is a photograph made by the soul of a certain object. The mind is an artist, taking a photograph from it.

If the Lord were not long-suffering, if He were not the Lover of men, would He have borne with our great offences? would He have been incarnate? would He have suffered and died for you? would He have given you His most pure Body and Blood, upon which even the angels look with fear and trembling? would He have saved you from sin and spiritual death so many innumerable times? Had it been otherwise He would have said: "Be tormented, if you are so evil by nature; I will not deliver you again after having delivered you so often before." But now, during all our life-time He bears with our innumerable offences, and still waits for our conversion. Glorify, then, His love and long-suffering. Picture to yourself what it would have been without Him, without Him to save? Horror and trembling fill the soul at the idea of it. But impenitent sinners will indeed be overtaken at the last by God's wrath "in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God."9090Romans ii. 5.

When you are about to pray to Our Lady the Holy Virgin, be firmly assured, before praying, that you will not depart from Her without having received mercy. To think thus and to have confidence in Her is meet and right. She is, the All-merciful Mother of the All-merciful God, the Word, and Her mercies, incalculably great and innumerable, have been declared from all 44 ages by all Christian Churches; She is, indeed, an abyss of mercies and bounties, as is said of Her in the canon of Odigitry.9191The Canon-Song v. 1.Therefore to pray to Her without such assurance would be foolish and audacious, for doubt would offend Her goodness, just as God's goodness is offended when people pray to Him without hoping to receive what they pray for. How do people hurry for alms to any great and rich man whose kindness is well known, and has been proved on many occasions? Generally with the most perfect assurance and hope of receiving from Him that which they desire. Likewise, in praying we must neither doubt nor be faint-hearted.

As a mother teaches her child to walk, so also God teaches us to have a living faith in Him. A mother will make the child stand, and leave it for a while by itself, then she will tell it to come to her. The child cries without its mother; it wants to go to her, but is afraid to attempt to move its feet; it tries to walk, makes a step, and falls down. God teaches the Christian faith in Him in a like manner (faith being the spiritual way); our faith is as weak, as elementary as the child beginning to walk. The Lord leaves the man without His help and gives him up to the Devil, or to various distresses and afflictions, and afterwards, when he is in extreme need of help of being delivered from them (for we are not ready to go to Him until we are in need of salvation), He bids us look on Him (we must absolutely look upon Him) and come to Him for that help. The Christian endeavours to do so; he opens the eyes of his heart (just as the child moves its feet) and tries to see the Lord by means of them, but his heart, not being taught how to see God, is afraid of its own boldness, and stumbles and falls. The enemy and inborn sinful corruptions close the newly-opened eyes of his heart and cut him off from God, so that he cannot approach Him, though God is near, ready to take him into His arms; only God must be approached with faith, and an effort must be made to see Him fully with the spiritual eyes of faith. Then He will Himself stretch out His helping hand, will take the man into His arms and drive away the enemies. Then the Christian feels that he has fallen into the arms of the Saviour Himself. Glory be to Thy goodness and wisdom, Lord! Thus during the efforts of the Devil against us, and in every affliction, we must see clearly with the eyes of the heart, as if He stood before us, the Saviour, the Lover of men; and look upon Him with boldness as upon our inexhaustible treasury of goodness and mercies, and pray to Him with all our hearts, that He may give us a portion of this inexhaustible fountain of blessings and of spiritual help; and we shall immediately obtain what we are praying for. The chief thing is faith, or the spiritual vision 45 of the Lord and the hope of receiving everything from Him, as the Most-merciful, the Most-true. This is the truth! This is from experience! By these means God also teaches us to acknowledge our extreme moral infirmity without Him, to be contrite in heart, and constantly in a prayerful frame of mind!

The Christian has no reason to have in his heart any ill-feeling whatever against anyone--such ill-feeling, like every other evil, is the work of the Devil; the Christian must only have love in his heart; and as love cannot think of evil, he cannot have any ill-feeling against others. For instance, I must not think that anyone else is evil or proud without having positive reasons to think so, or I must not think that it will make him proud if I show him respect, or that if I forgive him he will again offend me and will mock at me. We must not let evil in any form nestle in our heart; but evil generally appears in too many forms.

The peace and plenteousness of life in the heart after communion is the greatest, the most inestimable gift of our Lord Jesus Christ, surpassing all the gifts relating to the body which are received at the same time. Without peace of the soul--when the heart is straitened and tormented--the man cannot avail himself of any blessings, either material or spiritual; at that time the delights that come from the feeling of truth, goodness, and beauty do not exist for him, because the very centre of his life--the heart, or the inner man himself--is crushed and slain.

Unite your soul to God by means of hearty faith and you will be able to accomplish everything. Do powerful, invisible, ever-watchful enemies wage war against you? You will conquer them. Are these enemies visible, outward? You will conquer them also. Do passions rend you? You will overcome them. Are you crushed with sorrows? You will get over them. Have you fallen into despondency? You will obtain courage. With faith you will be able to conquer everything, and even the Kingdom of Heaven will be yours. Faith is the greatest blessing of the earthly life; it unites the man to God, and makes him strong and victorious through Him. "He that is joined unto the Lord is one Spirit."92921 Corinthians vi. 17.

God in His goodness has granted to us, undeserving as we are, to see the sun and its light, and allows us to enjoy it. He will grant to us also to enjoy His own inaccessible light. Let the light of the sun be a pledge to us of this, but especially the tranquil light of the holy glory of the Heavenly Father, His only Son, given to us, and the spirit of love bestowed upon our hearts.

46

What do I see when I look upon God's world? I see everywhere the extraordinary breadth, the sportiveness of life; in the animal kingdom, amongst quadrupeds, reptiles, insects, birds, and fishes. Now, it may be asked, why should there be this narrowness and sorrowful way of life for man, especially for the man who is zealous and pious? God has everywhere plenteously diffused life, abundance, and gladness, and all creatures, with the exception of men, glorify the Creator by their abundance, their life, and sportive joy. Why, then, is there this discordance between me and the general life? Am I not the creature of the same Creator? The solution of this question is simple. Our life is poisoned, either through our own fault by sin, or by the incorporeal enemy, and especially and chiefly by him in regard to those who have given themselves up to a life of piety. The life of the man--of the true Christian--is in the future, in after ages; there every joy and full blessedness will be opened to him. But here he is only an exile, and is under punishment; here sometimes the whole of nature takes up arms against man for his sins, not to speak of the enemy from time immemorial, who "as a roaring lion walketh about, seeking whom he may devour."93931 Peter v. 8.

Therefore I am not disturbed by the fact that there are joy and abundance everywhere throughout the world, while in myself alone there is often no gladness, so that I look morosely upon the gladness and freedom of God's creatures. I have within me an executioner for my sins--he is ever with me, and strikes me. But there will be joys for me also, only not here, but in the other world.

Looking upon God's world, I see everywhere God's extraordinary bountifulness in the gifts of nature: the surface of the earth is like the richest table, prepared with abundance and variety by the most loving and generous of hosts. The depths of the waters also serve to feed the man. What shall be said of the animals, quadrupeds, and birds? And what bountifulness is manifested in providing food and clothes for man! The Lord's mercies are innumerable. Look at all the earth supplies in summer and in autumn! Every Christian, especially the priest, ought to imitate God's bountifulness. Let your table be open to everybody, like the table of the Lord. The avaricious is God's enemy.

The tree firmly fixed in the earth by its roots grows and brings forth fruit. The soul of a man firmly fixed in God by faith and love, as by spiritual roots, also lives, grows spiritually, and brings forth the fruits of virtue pleasing to God, through which the soul lives now and shall live in the 47 future world. The tree, when uprooted from the ground, ceases to live by the life which it received from the heart through the roots. Similarly, the soul of the man which has lost faith and love to God and does not dwell in God, in Whom alone it can live, spiritually dies. What the earth is to the plants God is to the soul.

In order not to be in daily bondage to the passions and the Devil, you must set yourself an object to aim at, have this object constantly in view, and endeavour to attain it, conquering all obstacles by the name of the Lord. What is this object? The Kingdom of God, the Divine palace of glory, prepared for believers from the creation of the world. But as this object can only be attained by certain means, it also is necessary to have such means at one's disposal. And what are these means? Faith, hope, and love, especially the last. Believe, hope, and love, especially love, disregarding all obstacles; love God above everything and your neighbour as yourself. If you have not sufficient strength to preserve in your heart these inestimable treasures, fall down oftener at the feet of the God of Love. "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you"9494St. Matthew vii. 7, 8. --for He Who has promised is true. Walking, sitting, lying down, conversing, or working, at every time, pray with your whole heart that faith and love may be given to you. You have not yet asked for them as you should ask--fervently and instantly, with the firm purpose of obtaining them. Say now, "I will begin to do so henceforth."

When on your way to God you meet obstacles raised up by the Devil: doubt and unbelief of heart, also a thorough ill-feeling, sometimes towards persons worthy of absolute respect and love, as well as other passions. Do not be disturbed by them, but know that it is but the smoke of the enemy, which will be dispersed at a sign from our Lord Jesus Christ.

What should be our chief care in the education of the young? We must chiefly endeavour that the eyes of their understanding should be enlightened.9595Ephesians i. 18. Do you not notice that our heart acts first in our life and in nearly all our knowledge? The heart sees certain truths (ideas) before the mind knows them. When knowledge is acquired, it happens thus: the heart sees at once, indivisibly, instantaneously; afterwards this single action of the sight of the heart is transmitted to the intellect and subdivided in 48 the intellect into parts or sections, preceding and subsequent; the sight of the heart is analysed in the intellect. The idea belongs to the heart and not to the intellect; that is, to the inner man, and not to the outer one. Therefore, to have the eyes of their understanding enlightened9696Ephesians i. 18 is a very important matter in acquiring all knowledge, but especially in that of the truths of faith and of the laws of morality.

The future life is the perfect purity of the heart, which is now only gradually purified, and which is at present more often shut and darkened by sin and by the Devil's breathing into it, and only at times, under the influence of God's grace, brightens and sees God, being united to Him most truly during prayer and in the Sacrament of the Holy Communion.

How should we keep the festivals? We must celebrate in them either the event (with a view of investigating the greatness of the event, its object, and the fruits it brought to those who believe) or the person; as, for instance, our Lord, the Mother of God, the angels and saints (with the view of investigating the relation of that person to God and to mankind and his beneficial influence upon God's Church in general). It is necessary to investigate the history of the event or of the person whose festival we solemnise, to approach it or him with, our whole heart, to absorb them, so to say, into ourselves; otherwise the festival will be incomplete, and not pleasing to God. The festivals ought to influence our life, to vivify and kindle our faith in future blessings, and maintain in us a pious and gentle disposition. Yet they are mostly spent in sin and folly and met with unbelieving, cold hearts, often wholly unprepared to feel the great mercies which God has vouchsafed to us through the particular event or person whose festival is celebrated.

It may happen that there is much wickedness in your soul. But let it be known to God alone, Who knows everything that is secret and concealed, and do not show all your uncleanness to others; do not corrupt them by the breath of the wickedness concealed within you. Tell God your grief, that your soul is full of wickedness, and that your life is near to hell, but to other people show a bright and pleasant countenance. What have they to do with your madness? Or declare your soul's sickness to your confessor or to a true friend, so that they may teach you, guide you, and restrain you.

Gazing upon heaven, contemplate in its heights the Lord Jesus, for it was from there that He appeared to the pro-martyr 49 Stephen and to Saul, and pray to Him to save you. These appearances of His do not show that He only then opened the heavens and looked down upon these saints through the heavens thus opened, but they show that He is always looking down from the heavens upon us all and sees our actions, words, thoughts, and intentions, as you must have been convinced on many occasions from your own experience when you lifted up your eyes to the heavens and received miraculous and great help from Him; it only means that, in the above-mentioned cases, He revealed Himself and manifested Himself in the heavens.

To sin is both detrimental and foolish; for the sinner despises himself and either turns away from human society or seeks the society of others like him, because his inner condition and the worm gnawing at his heart make any respectable society oppressive to him, as it does not correspond with the character of his own life. The sinner feels straitened in God's wide world, because the world is the work of the Most Holy and Righteous God; and the sinner who does not obey God's laws, the laws of love and peace, is an outcast from God's creation, for whom there is no place in the world. The reason why he feels so straitened is that he is pursued by God, by his own conscience, and by all creation.

Who is it that suffers through doubting, unbelieving, blasphemous thoughts: the object of which the man doubts, in which he does not believe and which he blasphemes, or the man himself, who doubts, does not believe, and blasphemes? The latter. He grows afraid with that fear of which the Psalmist speaks: "There were they brought in great fear even where no fear was." 9797Psalm xiv. 5. He is tortured by his doubt, unbelief, and blasphemy; whilst the object of his agony remains firm, immovable, and has evidently the better of him, because it makes him change his mind for the sake of his own tranquillity, and does not allow him to grow quite calm until he has repented of his former false opinions and has accepted more favourable and truer ones. Therefore it is foolish to waver and be disturbed, and still more so to become fainthearted and fall into despondency, when during prayer, or at any other time, doubting, unbelieving, blasphemous thoughts occur to you. They are all only enticements of Satan.

Malice, or any other passion that has taken root in your heart, has a tendency—in accordance with the infallible law of evil—to discharge itself outwardly. This is why it is usually said of an evil or angry man that he has vented his 50 anger upon another person or upon another object. It is the worst of evil that it does not remain in the heart, but tries to diffuse itself outwardly. From this it is already evident that the author of evil is great himself, and has a wide domain over which he reigns. "The whole world lieth in wickedness." 98981 John v. 19.Like a vapour or gases that have accumulated in a great quantity in a shut-up place strive to rush out, so also the passions, like the breathing of the spirit of evil, having filled the heart, strive to rush out of one man to pour themselves into others, and corrupt, by their ill-odour, the souls of others.

God has granted us existence--the greatest gift of His goodness, and after we had fallen away from Him, from life into death, He gave us for our regeneration, to bring us back to life, His Son. How small in proportion are all the other gifts which we ask of Him in prayer, and how easy it is for Him to give them to us at the first word of true faith, if they are really necessary for us! Therefore it is perfectly unpardonable in us if we still doubt that we shall obtain what we ask of God in prayer. The Lord said plainly: "Ask, and it shall be given you."9999St. Matthew vii. 7.

Here in this world of vanities, in this adulterous and sinful world, our souls and bodies are continually and often imperceptibly corrupted "by moth and rust, and thieves [mental ones] break through and steal" 100100St. Matthew vi. 19. the treasures of the soul, that is: "righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost." 101101Romans xiv. 17.What is, then, the true remedy against the continual, sinful corruption of these mental thieves? The prayer of repentance and of faith. It revives and vivifies our souls, corrupted by seductive carnal desires, and drives away the mental thieves; it is a scourge for them, whilst for us it is the source of power, life, and salvation. Glory to God for this! Prayer protects and delivers us from sin. It is good for us to live with the prayer of faith in our hearts, for during prayer we live with the Lord, Who has promised all good things to those who ask Him: "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened." 102102St. Matthew vii. 7, 8.Glory to Thee, Lord, for Thy most true words. Lord! grant to all those who ask of Thee, through my unworthy means, the various blessings, the petitions of their hearts. Amen—so be it!

51

If you wish that God should speedily give you hearty faith in prayer, strive with all your heart to speak and to do everything in regard to other people sincerely, and never be deceitful in your dealings with them. If you are straightforward and truthful with others, then God will give you straightforwardness and sincere faith also in reference to Himself. Him who is not straightforward in his dealings with other men God does not accept easily when he prays, making him feel that he is insincere with other men, and therefore cannot be perfectly sincere with God.

Man subjected to passions, what is it that you want? Life, you say. About what do you busy yourself? Life. But are you leading the true life? Both reason and experience oblige you to say that you are not. Then what constitutes your life? Reason and experience again tell me faith, hope, and love. The life of the soul is God. A living faith in Him and love to other men like unto myself—these are the peace and breadth of my heart; for without them I am the martyr of sin, the slave, the prisoner of passions, and my life is spent in affliction and constraint.

Even here I rest in Christ and with Christ; how, then, can I do otherwise than believe that eternal rest in Him awaits me after death, and after the struggle against earthly enemies? Here without Christ I feel oppressed and in pain; how can I do otherwise than believe that it will be still more grievous to be without Christ there, when He will finally cast me away from before His face! Thus the present state of our souls foreshadows the future. The future will be a continuation of the present inward condition, only in a modified form as to its degree: for the righteous it will be turned into the fulness of eternal glory; for sinners, into the fulness of everlasting torment.

"It is good for me to draw near to God," 103103Psalm lxxiii. 28. said David, who had tasted the sweetness of prayer and praising God. Other men confirm this, and I a sinner also. Observe, even here on earth, to draw near to God is a good and blessed thing (while we are yet in the sinful flesh, which has much that is agreeable and disagreeable in itself). Therefore, what blessedness it will be to be united to God there, in heaven! And the blessedness of union with God here on earth is a specimen and pledge of the blessedness of union with God after death, in eternity. You see, then, how good, merciful, and true the Creator is! In order 52 to assure you of the future blessedness proceeding from union with Him, He allows you to experience the beginning of this blessedness here on earth when you approach Him sincerely. Yes; even here my invisible soul rests in the invisible God; therefore it will still more perfectly rest in Him when it is separated from the body.

The spirit is powerful, mighty, and therefore it easily bears a heavy substance; whilst the flesh is inert, feeble, and is therefore easily overwhelmed by its own natural substance. This is why God by the word of His power upholds all things.104104Hebrews i. 3. Similarly the spirit of a man blessed with grace, by God's help, easily conquers his own flesh, and even the flesh of others (as we see in the saints), easily masters during prayer the meaning of the words, filling them with his spirit; whilst the carnal man is in constant subjection to his flesh, is oppressed by the words of the prayer, which he is unable to endue with the spirit, being flesh himself, or is unable to penetrate into its pure, holy spirit with his own impure, carnal spirit.

Man is constantly perishing through sin, and therefore he requires a constant daily Saviour. This Saviour is Jesus Christ, the Son of God; only call upon Him inwardly with living, clear-seeing faith in your salvation, and He will save you. Thus has He miraculously saved me an innumerable number of times; this salvation was as manifest as, for instance, the visit of any deliverer to a prison from which he frees the prisoner. It is necessary for a priest to experience himself the power of faith, the sweetness of prayer, and the remission of sins, and also to experience cases when prayer is unsuccessful, as well as spiritual afflictions, and the consolations of grace; so that in his prayer to God for the faithful he may say thus, "Give unto them the same blessings as those which Thou always givest to my unworthy self;" and so that he may be able to pray about everything from his own experience.

"He is near to his heart" is said of two persons of unequal rank, one of whom protects the other. And the one who has been honoured by the protection of the higher person, and by being near to his heart, knows this, and is reciprocally near him in his own heart. It is thus between God and those who serve Him with a pure heart: God is always near to their heart, and they are near God's heart. It should also be the same during the prayer of every Christian: when praying we must absolutely be near to God in our heart. All that is good and sincere in our intercourse with our fellow-men should be transferred to God.

53

Remember that you are always walking in the presence of the sweetest Lord Jesus. Say to yourself oftener: "I wish so to live that my life may gladden my Beloved, crucified for my sake on the Cross. Above all, I will take for the companion and friend of my life my Holy Beloved, Who instils everything into my heart, making me thirst for the salvation of all, rejoicing with those who rejoice, and weeping with those who weep." This will especially comfort my Comforter, Christ.

Parents and teachers! Beware and be most careful not to let your children be capricious; otherwise they will soon forget to value your love; their hearts will be corrupted with wickedness; they will soon lose holy, true, glowing love from their hearts, and, on reaching maturity, they will complain bitterly that in their youth you spoilt them too much and encouraged them in their caprices. Capriciousness is the germ of the corruption of the heart, the rust of the heart, the moth of love, the seed of evil, and an abomination to the Lord.

In the Church especially is accomplished the mystery of the cleansing from sins. Reverence, therefore, the place where your soul is cleansed from all impurities, where you are reconciled to God, where you receive the true life of the spirit. How many times the Lord has here granted me the cleansing from my sins, without which I could not have enjoyed God's gifts--the greatest of life's gifts, the gifts of peace and joy, and earthly blessings besides! Glory to Thee, Jesus Christ, the Son of God. "He is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world."1051051 John ii. 2.

Nothing is more changeable than matter; it changes into millions of forms, by natural means according to the laws of the Creator: not to speak of the wonderful changes, for instance, of fire into dew, of water into blood, of water into wine, of the rod into the serpent; even man sometimes changes matter into a thousand different forms. What can therefore be said of God, Who has created everything? The nature of matter is its changeableness. God does not act thus, and does not desire to act thus with a reasonable spirit: the nature of the spirit is its unchangeableness. But to strive to become perfect in good works is the act of a reasonable created spirit. It is the triumph of the spirit over matter that the spirit changes it into thousands of forms. Notice, for instance, how this spirit changes matter in the vegetable kingdom, how endlessly varying are the forms of plants, all growing out of the same soil, with the help of the same light of the sun, the same air, 54 and the same water. And the bodies of animals, how varied they are! Thus the nature of matter is changeableness; upon this condition the world was created in all its variety. Glory to the only eternally, unchangeable God, the All-powerful Creator! Had matter been unchangeable, then God would not have been All-powerful. Glory to the spiritual nature! May it ever conquer the material nature! Ask God to give you unchangeableness in all that is good.

Why is it that we always remember the offences of men, are angry and bear malice against the offenders, whilst the most wicked, the most hurtful and continual offences of the Devil we very soon forget, even though we have been thus offended by him a thousand times a day, while we bear in remembrance the offences of men sometimes for longer than a day? This is the enticement of the Devil! He knows how to deceive us cleverly: whilst offending us himself, he ever screens himself behind our own self-love, as though wishing to gratify us in the beginning by means of the development of a certain passion, though afterwards he always destroys, and bitterness comes to us from him for our foolish, unreasonable self-love. The offences of other people against us he always magnifies a hundredfold, representing them in a false light; and here again he screens himself behind our own self-love, as though he were jealous of our welfare, which other people are seeking to destroy by their offences.

Two forces, in direct opposition to each other, influence us: one good, the other evil; one life-giving and the other deadly. As both are spiritual forces, both are invisible. The good power, through my free and sincere prayer, always drives away the evil power, which is strong only through the evil concealed within me. In order not to be subjected to the continual harassments of the evil spirit, we must constantly have in our hearts this prayer to Jesus Christ: "Jesus, Son of God, have mercy upon me!" Against the invisible one (the Devil) the Invisible God, against the mighty the Mightier.

If men--weak, short-lived, mortal creatures—do so many great and wonderful acts by means of the powers and capabilities they are blessed with; if sometimes many millions of people obey the single word of one man, then what cannot the great Author of all human life do—what will not obey His word? Remember the words of the centurion: "I also," said he, "am a man set under authority, having under me soldiers: and I say unto one, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it."106106St. Luke vii. 8. Further- 55 more, if many animals are also gifted with skill to do various wonderful things which cannot even be done by a man—the animals which we trample under foot, which are insignificant and weak—then what is there that cannot be done by the Creator of everything and everybody, Who has bountifully endued all with all skill, all capabilities and powers? If the soulless grass, "which to-day is, and to-morrow is cast into the oven," 107107St. Matthew vi. 30. is formed by His word into such delicate and beautiful shapes; if every substance we see is obedient to His word, and changes into incommensurably endless variety at His sign (by means of the five elements only); who then, seeing all this, will require greater pledges of His omnipotence? Wonderful are Thy works, O Lord, at each step and at every moment of life! Heaven and earth are full of the glory of Thy wisdom, of the glory of Thy mercy, and the glory of Thy omnipotence! Thou art not only Thyself the most wise Creator, and constantly manifestest Thyself as such, but Thou also givest the capacity of creating to Thy creatures, so that they create at Thy word, through the powers which Thou hast given them, wonderful and useful things. O, in what splendour Thou hast arrayed Thyself! How we have abased ourselves and our nature of sin!--but how dear and great we are in the sight of God! For our sakes He did not spare His own Son, but clothed Him with our flesh, gave Him our nature, for our salvation. He has prepared for us, from the creation of the world, an everlasting kingdom, and our conversion rejoices good angels. And yet what do we do? We do not even wish to know this, and abase ourselves lower and lower; we slay our souls by various vices and earthly passions. It is sad, inexpressibly sad, to look upon man—a creature created according to God's image—and sad especially to look upon the Christian, found worthy of such a high calling, so much esteemed and so loaded with benefits by God.

Forced prayer develops hypocrisy, renders a man incapable of any occupation requiring meditation and makes him slothful in everything, even in fulfilling his duties. This should persuade all who pray in this manner to correct their mode of praying. We must pray gladly, with energy, from the whole heart. Do not pray to God only when you are obliged to, either in sorrow or in need, for "God loveth a cheerful giver."1081082 Corinthians ix. 7.

In all the temples of the bodies of pious Christians--which are not made with human hands--there is a mental light, the soul, and that light is derived from God the Wise Sun, Who is visible in the world in the same way as the soul is in the body.

56

I notice how God, the mental Sun, enters and shines in my soul, for then I feel happy, warm, and bright; but when He goes away He leaves the soul in darkness and suffering. As in material nature the darkness is caused by the departure or setting of the sun, so likewise in the spiritual nature the darkness is caused by the departure of the mental Sun from the soul, and by its being covered with the darkness of the accursed one. As in material nature there is always some remainder of light after sunset, by reason of the incomparable size of the sun, so also in the soul there is some remainder of light, even after the departure of the mental Sun, by reason of His omnipresence and by reason of the comparative weakness of the prince of darkness, who, without God's permission, is unable to completely darken the soul. But we must beware also, as the Lord has said, "lest darkness come upon us"109109St. John xii. 35. completely.

When you are granted recovery from any illness, render thanks to God in the following short form of praise:--Glory to Thee, Lord, Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of the everlasting Father, Who alone art able to heal all manner of sickness and disease in men, that Thou hast had mercy upon me, a sinner, and hast delivered me from my sickness, not allowing it to develop and slay me according to my sins. Grant to me, from this time forth, Master, strength to firmly fulfil Thy will, to the salvation of my accursed soul, and to Thy glory, and that of Thy everlasting Father, and of Thy consubstantial Spirit, both now and for ever, and to ages of ages. Amen.

What is a pure heart? It is meek, humble, guileless, simple, trusting, true, unsuspicious, gentle, good, not covetous, not envious, not adulterous.

My soul! remember thy heavenly dignity and do not be disturbed by corruptible, worthless things. Honour also in other people their heavenly dignity, and do not dare offend or hate them for any perishable cause; love with all thy might that which is spiritual and heavenly, and despise that which is material, earthly. Remember the words of thy Saviour: "Give us this day our daily bread"—only this day's. The highest Christian wisdom lies concealed in these words. Remember also that the Lord Himself showed during His life an example of carelessness in regard to means of subsistence, and was contented with voluntary offerings only: "My meat is to do the will of Him that sent Me, and to finish His work."110110St. John iv. 34.

57

You hate your enemy? You are foolish. Why? Because if your enemy persecutes you, you also inwardly persecute yourself; for say, is it not persecution, and the most cruel persecution, to torture yourself by your hatred towards your enemy? Love your enemy, and you will be wise. O, if only you knew what a triumph, what blessedness it is to love your enemy, and to do good to him! So did the Son of God, so did God in the Holy Trinity, triumph, and still triumphs, through His love, over the ungrateful and evil-natured human race; so also did God's saints triumph over their enemies, by loving them and doing good to them.

"While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. . . . . If when we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life."111111Romans v. 8, 10.

Do not be despondent when fighting against the incorporeal enemy, but even in the midst of your afflictions and oppression praise the Lord, Who has found you worthy to suffer for Him, by struggling against the subtilty of the serpent, and to be wounded for Him at every hour; for had you not lived piously, and endeavoured to become united to God, the enemy would not have attacked and tormented you.

Glory to Thee, Saviour, Almighty Power! Glory to Thee, Saviour, Omnipresent Power! Glory to Thee, Fount of mercies! Glory to Thee, ever-open Hearing, ever ready to hear my prayers, accursed as I am, in order to have mercy upon me, and to save me from my sins! Glory to Thee, to Thy brightest Eyes, looking lovingly upon me and penetrating into all my secrets! Glory to Thee, Glory to Thee, Glory to Thee, sweetest Jesus, my Saviour!

Hearty faith is indispensable for man, because the light of our intellect is very limited, and cannot contain much mental light, while the Lord our God is Infinite Light, and the world is an abyss of His omnipotence and wisdom, whilst in us there is only, so to say, a drop of His power and wisdom, because only so much, and not more, can be contained of them in our perishable flesh.

The earth is hard and inert, though it revolves very fast round the sun; water is liquid and rapid, therefore people say a current is rapid; air is still more liquid, more rare- 58 fied and more rapid, and therefore it moves very quickly, as, for instance, in the case of winds; light is still more ethereal, more rapid, and in one second it travels over incredibly great distances. If light is so ethereal and traverses immense spaces in the shortest possible time, then what must the created spirit be, and how ethereal and rapid must it be! Finally, what must the uncreated Spirit be--the Lord Himself! How immeasurable must He be! If light in one second moves with such awful rapidity, then how rapidly must the uncreated Light--the Source of all Light and of everything created--move in intelligent created spirits! Finally, how must the Light which created everything embrace all His creatures, all the multitudes of worlds! Glory to Thee, the Light immaterial and uncreated, "which lighteth every man that cometh into the world."112112St. John i. 9.

Most men not only bear Satan's burden willingly in their hearts, but they become so accustomed to it that they often do not feel it, and even imperceptibly increase it. Sometimes, however, the evil enemy increases his burden tenfold, and then they become terribly despondent and fainthearted, they murmur and blaspheme God's name. The usual means that men of our time take to drive away their anguish are--entertainments, cards, dancing, and theatres. But such means afterwards increase still more the anguish and weariness of their hearts. If, happily, they turn to God, then the burden is removed from their heart, and they clearly see that previously the heaviest burden was lying on their heart, though frequently they did not feel it. O, how many men there are who have "forsaken [God] the Fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no [living] water"!113113Jeremiah ii. 13. Men have very many such broken cisterns--nearly everybody has his own. The broken cisterns are our hearts, our passions.

When you see faults and passions in your neighbour, pray for him; pray for everybody, even for your enemy. If you see that your brother is proud and stubborn, and behaves proudly either to you or others, pray for him, that God may enlighten his mind and warm his heart with the fire of His grace, and say: "Lord, teach meekness and humility to Thy servant, who has fallen into Satan's pride, and drive from his heart the darkness and burden of the evil one's pride." If you see a wrathful brother, pray thus: "Lord, make this servant of Thine good through Thy grace." If a mercenary and greedy one, pray thus: "Lord, Thou Who art our incorruptible Treasury and inexhaustible Riches, grant that this servant of Thine, created according to Thy image, may 59 recognise the deceitfulness of riches, and that, like all earthly things, they are vain, fleeting, delusive. For the days of men are like grass, or like the spider's web, and Thou alone art our riches, peace, and joy. "If you see an envious man, pray Thus: "Lord, enlighten the mind and the heart of this Thy servant, that he may recognise the great, innumerable, and unsearchable gifts which he has received through Thy boundless generosity; for in the blindness of his passion he has forgotten Thee and Thy rich gifts, and although enriched with Thy benefits, yet he reckons himself poor, and looks enviously upon the blessings which Thou, O our unspeakable Benefactor, hast bestowed upon each one of Thy servants, even against their own will, but in accordance with Thy purpose. Take away, Most Gracious Master, the Devil's veil from the eyes of the heart of Thy servant; grant him contrition of heart, tears of repentance and gratitude, so that the enemy who has ensnared him alive in his toils may not rejoice over him and may not wrest him from Thy hands. "If you see a drunken man, say in your heart: "Lord, look mercifully upon Thy servant, allured by the flattery of the belly and by carnal merriment; make him understand the sweetness of temperance and fasting, and of the fruit of the spirit arising therefrom." When you see a man passionately fond of eating, and finding all his happiness in this, say: "Lord, Thou art our sweetest Food, that never perishes, but leads us unto life eternal! Purify Thy servant from the filthiness of gluttony, so carnal and so far from Thy Spirit, and grant that he may know the sweetness of Thy Life-giving, spiritual food, which is Thy Flesh and Blood, and Thy holy, living, and acting word. "In this or in a similar manner pray for all who sin, and do not dare to despise anyone for his sin, nor be vindictive, as through this you would only aggravate the wounds of those who sin; but rather correct them by means of such advice, threats, and punishments as may tend to stop or restrain the evil within the limits of moderation.

From the action in our heart of two antagonistic forces, one of which firmly resists the other, and forcibly and cunningly invades our heart, always slaying it, whilst the other is chastely offended at every impurity and quietly withdraws itself from the slightest impurity, and when it works in us, appeases, rejoices, vivifies and delights our heart--that is, from the two individual antagonistic forces, it is easy to be convinced that both undoubtedly exist: the Devil as the constant destroyer of men, and Christ as the constant Life-giver and Saviour. One is darkness and death; the other, Light and Life. Therefore you who love God, if you sometimes notice in your mind and heart extreme darkness, affliction, and grief, contraction and unbelief, as a force strongly opposing faith in 60 God, then know that the power inimical to Christ--the Devil--is within you. This is the dark and destroying power, which, having stolen into your heart through any sin, often prevents your calling upon Christ and the saints, hiding them from you behind the mist of unbelief. Wherefore? In order to torment us, because faith saves us from his snares. But it is just this which proves the existence of the opposing Sovereign power of God the Christ which the Devil keeps us from by the abomination of unbelief, and which can alone vanquish, by means of our faith, the evil force and keep it "in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day."114114Jude i. 6.Therefore it is necessary to make every effort to call upon Christ the Saviour with perfect faith. It is indispensable for every Christian to acquire the habit of turning quickly to God in prayer about everything: "in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God." 115115Philippians iv. 6." In everything give thanks," 1161161 Thessalonians v. 18. joining your thanksgivings to praises, after the example of the angels, exclaiming, Alleluia!

The greatest gift of God, which we mostly need and which we very often obtain from God, through our prayers, is peace or rest of heart. As the Lord Himself says: "Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."117117St. Matthew xi. 28. Therefore, having obtained this rest, rejoice, and consider yourself as rich and possessing all things.

Let everybody remember constantly that he is God's--soul and body--and that he depends on God for all his spiritual and bodily wants every moment of his life; and therefore let him turn to God every time that he feels a want of anything (either for the soul or for the body): when, for instance, he is oppressed in body or soul--that is, when he is stricken by sorrows (spiritual sickness) or by passions (bodily sickness); also when he is threatened by the inconstancy of the elements (of fire, water, air, storm); likewise when he is about to undertake anything. Let him then remember the Author of all things, Who created everything from nothing, and Who has bestowed various powers upon His creatures, so that they may accomplish many and various works.

Every good thought presupposes the existence within us of a good and higher origin, instructing our soul in holiness. This is evident, because it seems as if everything good were somehow hidden in us, and that we endeavour in vain to introduce into our heart that which was its former inheritance. How 61 true are the words of the Apostle: "What hast thou that thou didst not receive [every good thought, all natural gifts]? Now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory as if thou hadst not received it?" 1181181 Corinthians iv. 7.

We notice in ourselves the struggle between faith and unbelief, between the good power and the evil one; and in the world, between the spirit of the Church and the spirit of the world. There, through the spirit, you will distinguish two clearly antagonistic sides: the side of light and the side of darkness; of good and evil; the spirit of the Church and of religion, and the spirit of worldliness and unbelief. Do you know why it is so? It is owing to the struggle of two antagonistic forces: of the power of God and the power of the Devil. The Lord works in the sons who are obedient to Him, and the Devil in the sons of disobedience (" the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience"1191191 Ephesians ii. 2.). And I, too, often feel within me the struggle of the same two antagonistic forces. When I stand up to pray, the evil force sometimes painfully oppresses and weighs down my heart, so that it cannot raise itself to God.

The surer and stronger are the means that unite us to God (prayer and repentance), the more destructive are the actions brought to bear against them by God's opponent and ours, who makes use of every means to attain this end: our body, so inclined to laziness; the weakness of our soul, its attachment to earthly goods and cares; doubt, so near to everyone; incredulity, unbelief; impure, evil, and blasphemous thoughts; the oppression of the heart, the darkening of the mind—all these are brought to bear against the inattentive, through the action of the enemy, in order to put a stumbling-block in the way of their prayer, on the ladder that leads us up to God. This is the reason why so few pray sincerely and heartily; this is the reason why Christians so very seldom prepare themselves for Holy Communion—so seldom confess and receive the Sacrament.

Our strength, our soul, is invisible; the soul of animals is also invisible; in plants also, their strength, their life, is invisible; the whole material world exists and is moved by an invisible power (by the laws of nature). In the higher regions there are the heavenly powers, pure and free from everything material. Everything heavenly and earthly, the highest and the lowest, lead up to a single Almighty Power, which has produced every power in heaven and on earth. 62 Thus, let every power praise the Only One Power in Three Persons--the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. And let all earth-born creatures praise It, especially through the all-binding power of love, everywhere diffusing life and blessedness.

For a long time I did not clearly understand how necessary it is that our soul should be strengthened by the Holy Ghost. But now the Most Gracious Lord has granted to me to know how indispensable this is. Yes, it is necessary every moment of our life, just as breathing is; it is necessary during prayer and throughout the whole of our life. Unless He strengthens our soul, it is constantly inclined to every sin, and, therefore, to spiritual death; it becomes enfeebled, loses all power, through the evil that enters into the heart, and incapable of any good. Without the strengthening of the Holy Ghost, one feels how the heart is undermined by various evils, and is ready to sink every moment into their abyss. Then it is that our heart must stand firm as upon a rock. And this rock is--the Holy Ghost. He strengthens our powers; and when a man prays, He strengthens his heart by faith and by the hope of receiving that which he prays for. He inflames the soul with love to God; He fills the soul with bright, good thoughts, strengthening the mind and heart. If the man has any work to accomplish, He strengthens his heart by the conviction of the importance and the necessity of his labour, and by an invincible patience which overcomes all difficulties. He inspires in the man, in his intercourse with people of various positions and both sexes, a respect for the human person, who is made after God's image--whoever it may be--and is redeemed by the Blood of Christ the Lord; and makes him disregard the sometimes very unsightly outer appearance of another man's body and dress, as well as his roughness of speech and manners. It is the Holy Ghost who unites us all through love, as the children of the same Heavenly Father, and in Jesus Christ teaches us to pray: "Our Father which art in Heaven . . ."

Imagine that you see the inaccessible Light from which the light of the sun, the moon, and the stars proceeded; that you see the infinite Love which sent into the world its only-begotten Son to save the world 120120St. John iii. l6, 17. from eternal torment; that you see the Primeval Beauty from which are derived all the variety and beauty existing in the world--the variety and beauty of plants, stones, shells, fishes, birds, beasts, and all human beauty! Imagine that you see the Creator of heaven 63 and earth, loving, resplendent with the inaccessible light of His perfections. What will you then feel? And the Christian faith prepares us all for this vision. Observe the plants: in them are evident (1) the wonderful Wisdom, appearing in every part of the plant; (2) the Life-giving Power, strengthening and maintaining every part of the plant in its proper condition; and (3) the Omnipotence, by which the Eternal Wisdom changes the aspect of formless matter so easily, making it answer His everlasting intentions and purposes. "But Thou, Lord, art most high for evermore."1211211Psalm xcii. 8."Such knowledge is too wonderful for me." 122122Psalm cxxxix. 6.

In the same manner as objects situated at a great distance off on the earth, though they may be large, are quite invisible from afar if the sun is not reflected in them, whilst even small ones are visible a long way off if the sun is reflected in them, so it is also amongst men: those in whom the Eternal Sun of Righteousness, God, is not reflected in His perfections, are only noticeable when quite near by a very few; but if the Sun of Righteousness is reflected in them, then they are seen by all from a very great distance, they are glorified by all; they are people of all places and of all times (the saints); some of them shine like the sun, others like the moon, and others like the stars.

Gazing upon God's creatures and seeing their infinite variety, I see myself exalted above all their multitudes by the likeness and image of God, by the understanding and by freedom, by the capability of being able to examine all of them by means of my intellect, and to wonder at the wisdom and graciousness of the Creator as manifested in them. O, how I ought to reverence my Creator! O, how I ought to honour the authors of my being—my father and my mother! They have given me existence for a time—for a time and for eternity; they have led me, in accordance with the will of God, Who created me in my mother's womb, into the magnificent palace of the world, so that in due time the Creator may admit me into the palace of heaven.

The state or any society is a body. As in the body God has put all the members together, and each one separately in their proper places, so likewise is the social body. God has set each one in his proper place, the deeds of each one being the reason of his occupying this or that particular place.

64

Everyone sees that light is shed upon the earth from heaven, because the sun, the moon, and the stars light us from the heavenly circle. This shows that the uncreated wise Light, the Lord our God, dwells pre-eminently in the heavens; and from Him every light descends upon us, both material and spiritual—the light of the intellect and of the heart. "That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world."123123St. John i. 9. "God is love."1241241 John iv. 16.All thoughts, feelings, every disposition of the heart tending to destroy love and create enmity, proceed from the Devil. Let this be engraven in your heart, and hold fast in every way to love. "Follow after charity."1251251 Corinthians xiv. 1.Bear in mind: that which is in opposition to the old carnal, sinful man, that do; go all your life against his will. This is the object of your life, and also your glory in Jesus Christ. "They that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts."126126Galatians v. 24.Stablish in your heart the following truth: one thing alone is worthy of all our hatred--that is, sin or vice; and towards men nourish exclusively love. The royal law is plain: "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."127127St. Matthew xxii. 39.

When, during prayer, your heart is overwhelmed with despondency and melancholy, be sure that these proceed from the Devil endeavouring by every means to hinder you in your prayer. Be firm, take courage, and by the remembrance of God drive away the deadly feeling. Observe: if no in your thoughts, then in your heart, the enemy often endeavours to blaspheme the name of Almighty God. What constitutes blasphemy of the heart against God? Doubt, unbelief, despondency, impatience under God's chastisements, murmuring, and all the passions. By unbelief in God's truth and mercy, the enemy utters blasphemy against the truth, mercy, and omnipotence of God; by despondency, he blasphemes God's goodness; in general, by the outburst of human passions, he blasphemes God's all-merciful providence and truth.

Establish in your mind and heart this truth: that the invisible plays the first part in the whole world, in every being; and that when the invisible leaves a certain being, the latter loses life and is destroyed: so that the visible in beings, without the invisible, forms but a mass of earth. I and all men live through an invisible first cause—God.

Men are enveloped in the darkness of ignorance of God, of themselves, and of the enemies of their salvation, who can 65 therefore easily rob the mental house of our soul--its mental wealth.

When it is said to the inner man: "Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead,"128128Ephesians v. 14. the real sleep of the soul, very like the ordinary bodily sleep, is meant. Also, when it is said: "My heart, awake; why sleepest thou?" the real sleep of the heart is meant, and it is not said merely allegorically. When the body sleeps, it is weakened in every part and becomes insensible; so likewise the soul, sleeping the sleep of sin, becomes weakened in its powers, and insensible to everything that concerns faith, hope, and love. Tell it, for instance, that the Son of God came down upon earth for it and became man to save it from everlasting death; speak to it of His saving teaching, His miracles, His sufferings and death upon the Cross, His Resurrection, Ascension, and His second coming. The soul cannot understand or contain all this; it is unable to feel God's benefits, but is asleep, perfectly asleep, to faith, hope, and love. It does not fear the righteous Judge, future torments, the worm that never rests, the unquenchable fire. It sleeps--it neither hears, nor sees, nor feels. It is remarkable that bodily sleep begins with the heart; first of all the heart falls asleep, and afterwards the body. The sleeper's eyes are closed and do not see, neither do his ears hear; and it is the same with the soul that sleeps the sleep of sin. But the soul ought always to see through the eyes of the heart, even during sleep, as it is written: "I sleep, but my soul waketh."129129The Song of Solomon v. 2.

You cannot have failed to notice that all our strength lies in the heart. When the heart is light, the whole man feels at ease and happy; whilst when the heart is heavy, he feels wretched. But this relief you can only find in faith, and therefore especially in the Church, as the place where faith predominates; here God touches your hearts through His cleansing grace, and gives you His easy yoke to bear. This is a great mystery, which is worth everyone's knowing. When the heart is light, the man is ready to run and leap. This is why David "danced when he played before the ark."1301301 Chronicles xiii. 8; 2 Samuel vi. 14.

When you are slandered, and therefore grow disturbed and sick at heart, it shows that pride is in you, and that it must be wounded and driven out by outward dishonour. Therefore do not be irritated by derision, and do not bear 66 malice against those who hate you and slander you, but love them as your physicians, whom God has sent you to instruct you and to teach you humility, and pray to God for them. "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you."131131St. Matthew v. 44. Say to yourself, "It is not me that they slander, but my evil passions; not me that they strike, but that viper which nestles in my heart, and smarts when anybody speaks ill of it. I will comfort myself with the thought that, perhaps, these good people will drive it from my heart by their caustic words, and my heart will then cease to ache. "Therefore, thank God for outward dishonour: those who endure dishonour here will not be subjected to it in the next world." She hath received of the Lord's hand double for all her sins."132132Isaiah xl. 2."Lord, Thou wilt ordain peace for us: for Thou also hast wrought all our works for us."133133Isaiah xxvi. 12.

When you pray that your sins may be forgiven, strengthen yourself always by faith, and trust in God's mercy, Who is ever ready to forgive our sins after sincere prayer, and fear lest despair should fall on your heart--that despair which declares itself by deep despondency and forced tears. What are your sins in comparison to God's mercy, whatever they be, if only you truly repent of them? But it often happens that when a man prays, he does not, in his heart, inwardly hope that his sins will be forgiven, counting them as though they were above God's mercy. Therefore, he certainly will not obtain forgiveness, even should he shed fountains of involuntary tears; and with a sorrowful, straitened heart he will depart from the Gracious God: which is only what he deserves. "Believe that ye receive them," says the Lord, "and ye shall have them." 134134St. Mark xi. 24. Not to be sure of receiving what you ask God for, is a blasphemy against God.

When there is unbelief in anything true and sacred, the mind is generally darkened, the unbelieving heart is oppressed with fear; whilst when there is sincere faith, it experiences joy, tranquillity, breadth or expansion of life within it, so that the mind becomes bright and far-seeing. Is it not evident that truth triumphs over the heart's madness? Is not the deceitfulness of the heart manifest? Yes; the sufferings of the heart at the time of its unbelief in anything true and sacred are a sign of the truth of that in which it does not believe. The heart itself dies when it subjects the truth to doubt and attempts to destroy that which cannot be destroyed; whilst the expansion of the heart 67 when it sincerely believes is also a true sign of the truth of that in which it believes, because the object in which we believe communicates life to our heart, and renews and strengthens this life. Our heart, corrupted by sin, is but a poor receptacle of life, for sin is death and not life, and the fulness of life is outside us. But as this spiritual life is invisible, and is communicated to us according to our faith in the invisible personal life in God, therefore it is our lively sincere faith in God that brings life into our heart. Without faith, the heart must naturally feel oppression and sorrow, as the result of the curtailing and diminution of life. But, besides faith, there must also be an accord of our spiritual activity with the object of our faith, for man is a moral being.

"For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace."135135Romans viii. 6. Who will not agree with these words of the Apostle? The carnal mind is indeed death. Draw nigh, you who are mercenary, covetous, envious, selfish, proud, ambitious, and let us look upon you, upon your actions and your life! Disclose to us, if you will, the thoughts of your heart! We shall be convinced by you—a living example—that the carnal mind is death. You do not live the true life; you are spiritually dead; you that have freedom are inwardly bound; you that have intelligence are as the foolish, because "the light that is in thee is darkness." 136136St. Matthew vi. 23.You have received from God a heart capable of delighting in everything that is true, holy, good, and beautiful; but by the carnal mind you have stifled in it all noble feelings, all noble impulses; you have become a corpse; "ye have no life in you."137137St. John vi. 53.But "to be spiritually minded is life and peace." Let any Christian man, leading the life of faith, destroying the passions within him, and thinking "whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue and if there be any praise,"138138Philippians iv. 8. come to us, and tell us what he feels in his soul from the mind of the Spirit. He will say, "I feel in my heart continual peace and joy in the Holy Ghost," 139139Romans xiv. 17. my heart expands, I feel an abundance of life. I mock at everything carnal; I wonder how it can have such a great power over the hearts of carnal men, and I give myself up to the continual contemplation of the heavenly, spiritual, invisible blessings prepared for those who love God."

68

Alas! many are led astray by the gift of freedom, given by God to men, and by the possibility of being good and evil; and after having fallen into sin, men are more easily inclined to evil than to good. They blame the Creator, and say: "Why did God create us thus, and why did He not create us so that we could not fall and do evil?" Whilst others ascribe the corruption of man by sin to the imperfection of nature, setting aside God in their thoughts, and considering the whole world, with all its phenomena and objects, as something impersonal, not independent, not a free creation, of which they themselves are parts. This is what estrangement from the Church does! Into what ignorance have you sophists fallen! Meanwhile our children know clearly, exactly, and surely that which you do not know. You blame the Creator; but is He to blame if you yourself, through inattention to His voice, through your own evil nature and ingratitude, have abused the greatest gift of His goodness, great wisdom, and omnipotence—I mean the gift of freedom, which is an imprescriptible feature of God's image? Should He not be acknowledged the more merciful for having granted this gift to men, unshaken by the ingratitude of those who receive it, so that His goodness might shine upon all brighter than the sun? And has He not indeed proved His boundless love and infinite wisdom in bestowing upon us the gift of freedom, when, after our having fallen into sin, after our estrangement from Him, and our spiritual ruin, He sent into the world His only begotten Son "in an image made like to corruptible man,"140140Romans i. 23. and gave Him to suffer and die for us? Who, after this, will blame the Creator for having given us freedom? "Let God be true, but every man a liar."141141Romans iii. 4. Work out your own salvation, each one of you; struggle, vanquish, but do not think yourself most wise; do not accuse the Creator of being unmerciful and unwise; do not blaspheme the all-merciful God. Raise yourself through love; ascend higher and higher, step by step, to spiritual perfection, which it is impossible to obtain without freedom. "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." 142142St. Matthew v. 48.

In our body, during all our lifetime, a war goes on between the principles of life and death, of good and evil, of sickness and health. The principles of death, being for a long time conquered by the principles of life (vitality), at last overpower the principles of life, because our body, being elementary and sinful, does not in itself contain any principles of life, but borrows them from the soul, which, through sin, also bears in itself many of the principles of death, and is too weak to 69 be able to resist the principles of mortality existing in the soul itself. Besides this, the inner man is renewed at the expense of the corruption of his outward parts. The vigilant, ever-active spirit, by the exertion of this very activity, finally destroys the weak frail body. Besides this, hereditary bodily diseases in course of time increase more and more, and also destroy the bodily organism. Thus the life of man on earth is a gradual daily dying. And our passions? How much of our health they too bear away! And intemperance, excesses in eating, drinking, sleeping, and pleasures? How all these impair the health! Therefore, if our body is continually wasted, and visibly approaches its end, let us despise it as transient, and care with all our strength for the immortal soul. The body is a faithless, fleeting friend.

We possess a true barometer which shows the rise and fall of our spiritual life—that is, our heart. It may also be called a compass, by means of which we are guided in our voyage over the sea of this life. It shows us whither we are going—to the spiritual east, to Christ; or to the spiritual west, the dark power that has the power of death—the Devil. Only watch this compass attentively; it will not deceive, and will show you the true way. "If our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God"1431431 John iii. 21.—that is, we are drawing nigh to the east.

That which a man loves, to which he turns, that he will find. If he loves earthly things, he will find earthly things, and these earthly things will abide in his heart, will communicate their earthliness to him and will find him; if he loves heavenly things, he will find heavenly things, and they will abide in his heart and give him life. We must not set our hearts upon anything earthly, for the spirit of evil is incorporated in all earthly things when we use them immoderately and in excess, this spirit having become earthly by excessive opposition to God.

When God is present in all a man's thoughts, desires, intentions, words, and works, then it means that the kingdom of God has come to him; then he sees God in everything—in the world of thought, in the world of action, and in the material world; then the omnipresence of God is most clearly revealed to him, and a genuine fear of God dwells in his heart: he seeks every moment to please God, and fears every moment lest he may sin against God, present at his right hand. "Thy kingdom come!"

Examine yourself oftener; where the eyes of your heart are looking. Are they turned towards God and the life to come, 70 towards the most peaceful, blessed, resplendent, heavenly, holy powers dwelling in heaven? Or are they turned towards the world, towards earthly blessings; to food, drink, dress, abode, to sinful vain men and their occupations? O that the eyes of our heart were always fixed upon God! But it is only in need or misfortune that we turn our eyes to the Lord, whilst in the time of prosperity our eyes are turned towards the world and its vain works. But what, you would ask, will this looking to God bring me? It will bring the deepest peace and tranquillity to your heart, light to your mind, holy zeal to your will, and deliverance from the snares of the enemy. "Mine eyes are ever looking unto the Lord," said David, and gave the reason for it: "For He shall pluck my feet out of the net."144144Psalm xxv. 14"For He shall speak peace unto His people and to his saints, that they turn not again."145145Psalm lxxxv. 8.

When you doubt in the truth of any person or any event described in Holy Scripture, then remember that "all Scripture is given by inspiration of God,"1461462 Timothy iii. 16 as the Apostle says, and is therefore true, and does not contain any imaginary persons, fables, and tales, although it includes parables which everyone can see are not true narratives, but are written in figurative language. The whole of the Word of God is single, entire, indivisible truth; and if you admit that any narrative, sentence, or word is untrue, then you sin against the truth of the whole of Holy Scripture and its primordial Truth, which is God Himself. "I am the truth,"147147St. John xiv. 6 said the Lord; "Thy word is truth,"148148St. John xvii. 17.said Jesus Christ to God the Father. Thus, consider the whole of the Holy Scripture as truth; everything that is said in it has either taken place or takes place.

Do not give way to the dark evil inclinations in your heart against your neighbour, but conquer them and uproot them by the power of faith, by the light of a sound mind, and you will become kind and gentle. "I have walked innocently."149149Psalm xxv. 1. Such inclinations frequently arise in the depths of the heart. He who has not learned to subdue them will be often gloomy, melancholy, a burden to himself and to others. When they come to you, force yourself to be cordially disposed; to mirth and innocent jests; and the evil inclinations will be dispersed like smoke. This is from experience.

It is a strange phenomenon in our nature, perverted by sin, to hate those to whom we do good, and to make them pay for our benefits by disliking them! Oh, how narrow and poor in love and 71 grace is our heart! How selfish it is! The enemy may well mock at us; he wishes to destroy the fruits of our good works. But the more good you do to others, the more you must love them, knowing that those who receive your benefits serve as a pledge to you of your receiving forgiveness from God.

In asking anything of the Lord, or of His Most-pure Mother, or of the Angels and Saints, it is needful to have such faith as the centurion of Capernaum had.150150t. Luke vii. 6 and following verses. He believed that in the same manner as his soldiers obeyed him and fulfilled his words, so much more, at the Almighty Word of the All-merciful God, his request would be fulfilled. If creatures with their limited powers fulfilled that which He asked them to do, then will not the Master Himself through His Almighty power fulfil the requests of His servants who turn to Him with faith and hope? Will not the Most-pure Mother of God, the Angels and Saints, His true servants mighty through grace and in intercession with God, also fulfil our requests offered with faith, hope, and love? They will indeed; and I believe, with the centurion, that if I pray as I ought, and for what I ought, to any Saint: Grant me this, he will grant it to me; Come to my help, he will come; Do this, and he will do it. This is the simple, firm faith that we must have!

Every lying thought bears in itself a proof of its falsehood. This proof is its deadly effect upon the heart; "for to be carnally minded is death."151151Romans viii. 6. Likewise every true thought contains in itself a proof of its truth. This proof is its vivifying effect upon the heart; "but to be spiritually minded is life and peace,"152152Ibid. says the Apostle.

"Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul: that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed."153153St. Luke ii. 35.It was thus with the Mother of the Lord in the full sense of the words; it is also thus with other good and God-fearing persons, and their souls also are pierced with a sword in order that the thoughts of the hearts of those who come in contact with them may be disclosed; that is, sometimes God places them in such relations with other people in whose souls much hidden evil lies concealed, that they involuntarily speak out from the abundance of the evil within them, and it flows from their lips like a foul stream or like a whole river. Then they begin to do deeds unworthy of the name of man, and it is only after this that others learn what these persons were inwardly who were previously considered wise, learned, and estimable (the scribes and pharisees—both of old and of the present time).

72

"Thy kingdom come;" that is, the kingdom of life, for at present the kingdom of death continues for the greater part under the dominion of him who has the power of death--the Devil. How can the kingdom of God come to a man during his present life? Through hearty repentance. "Repent ye; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.",154154St. Matthew iii. 2. Let the impious man then give up his godless opinions, the mercenary his love of money, the deceiver his deceitfulness, the drunkard his drinking, the glutton his gluttony, the dissolute his dissipation, the proud his pride, the vain his vanity, the envious, the insatiable, his envy and his insatiableness, the impatient and murmurer his impatience and murmuring, and let everyone learn to do the acts of Christian love, and especially "to bear the infirmities of the weak."155155Romans xv. 1.

Outward prayer is often performed at the expense of inward prayer, and inward at the expense of outward; that is, when I pray with my lips or read, then many words do not penetrate into the heart, I become double minded and hypocritical; with my lips I say one thing, whilst in my heart I feel another. The lips speak truth, whilst the disposition of the heart does not agree with the words of the prayer. But if I pray inwardly, heartily, then, without paying attention to the pronunciation of the words, I concentrate it upon their contents, their power, gradually accustoming my heart to the truth, and thus entering into the same disposition of spirit in which the words of the prayer were written. In this way I accustom myself, little by little, to pray in spirit and truth in accordance with the words of the Eternal Truth: "They that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth."156156St. John iv. 24. When a man prays outwardly aloud, then he cannot always follow all the movements of his heart, which are so rapid that he is necessarily obliged to pay attention to the pronunciation of the words, and to their outward form. Thus the prayers of many of the clergy who read rapidly become quite untrue: with their lips they seem to pray; in appearance they are pious, but their hearts are asleep, and do not know what their lips say. This proceeds from the fact that they hurry, and do not meditate in their hearts upon what they are saying. We must pray for them, as they pray for us; we must pray that their words may penetrate into their hearts and breathe warmth into them. They pray for us in the words of holy persons, and we must pray for them also.

We sin in thought, word, and deed. In order to become pure images of the Most Holy Trinity, we must strive that our 73 thoughts, words, and deeds may be holy. Thought corresponds, in God, to the Father, the word to the Son, and the deed to the all accomplishing Holy Ghost. The sins of thought are not an unimportant matter for the Christian, because all that is pleasing to God in us is comprised, according to Saint Macarius of Egypt, in thoughts, for the thoughts are the beginning from which words and deeds proceed: words, because they either benefit those who hear them or are corrupt and tempt others, perverting their hearts and thoughts; and deeds, still more, because examples act more powerfully than anything upon people, inciting them to imitate them.

Your Lord is love: love Him and in Him all men, as His children in Christ. Your Lord is a fire: do not let your heart be cold, but burn with faith and love. Your Lord is light: do not walk in darkness and do not do anything in darkness of mind, without reasoning or understanding, or without faith. Your Lord is a God of mercy and bountifulness: be also a source of mercy and bountifulness to your neighbours. If you will be such, you will find salvation yourself with everlasting glory.

He who says prayers hurriedly, without hearty understanding and feeling, being conquered by his slothful, sleepy flesh, does not serve God, but serves his own flesh, his self-love, and reviles God by his inattention and the indifference of his heart to prayer: "God is a spirit; and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth"157157St. John iv. 24. --not hypocritically. However slothful and weak your flesh may be, however inclined to sleep you may be, conquer yourself; do not spare yourself for God; renounce yourself; let your gift to God be perfect; give God your heart.

"The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament sheweth His handy-work. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge."158158Psalm xix. 1, 2. This silent but evident declaration of the heavens of their creation by the Almighty has reached even us, and there is no language or dialect in which this declaration is not understood. And now, since the time of the Incarnation of the Son of God, all the glory of God, the glory of His love towards mankind, as well as the glory of creation, is declared unto us by the Gospel and the Holy Church; by the voices of the preachers of the Gospel; by those who celebrate the Sacraments and prayers; that is, the priests, readers, and singers; by the sound of bells, not excluding also the preaching of the heavens with their luminaries. But the preaching of the living 74 voice is more lively, more intelligible and striking. The glory of the Lord is declared by all the earth, and by all earthly beings.

In all your works, either at home or at the place of your service, do not forget that all your strength, your light and your success are in Christ and His Cross; therefore, do not fail to call upon the Lord before beginning any work, saying: Jesus, help me! Jesus, enlighten me! Thus your heart will be supported and warmed by lively faith and hope in Christ, for His is the power and glory unto ages of ages.

Take care; do not forget, Christian; never lose hearty faith in Him Who is your invisible Life, your Peace, your Light, your Strength, your Breath; that is, in Jesus Christ. Do not believe your heart when it becomes gross, darkened, unbelieving, and cold from plenteousness of food and drink, from worldly distractions, or finally when you live by the intellect, and not by the heart; that is, when you exercise the intellect and neglect the heart, or, when you enlarge and adorn the net, leaving the fisherman himself in poverty and need; for the heart, comparatively speaking, is the hunter or fisherman whilst the intellect is the fisherman's net.

In times of rest, ease, and gratification of the flesh, the latter revives with all its passions and inclinations, whilst in times of oppression, vexation, and weariness, it is subdued with all its passions; this is why, in His wisdom and mercy, the Heavenly Father subjects our soul and body to grievous afflictions and sicknesses, and this is why we must not only patiently endure these afflictions and sicknesses, but must rejoice in them, even more than in a state of spiritual calm, ease, and bodily health, for the spiritual condition of the man who is not subjected to spiritual afflictions or bodily sicknesses must undoubtedly be bad, especially during an abundance of earthly blessings; his heart imperceptibly generates all kinds of sins and passions, and exposes him to spiritual death.

Remember that the Lord is in every Christian. When your neighbour comes to you, always have great respect for him, because the Lord is in him, and often expresses his will through him. "It is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure."159159Philippians ii. 13. Therefore, do not grudge anything to your brother, but do unto him as unto the Lord; especially as you do not know in whom the Lord will come and visit you; be impartial to all, be kind to all, sincere and 75 hospitable. Remember that sometimes God speaks even through unbelievers, or disposes their hearts towards us, as it happened in Egypt when the Lord gave Joseph favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison.160160Genesis xxxix. 21.

My heart finds its peace in the highest, in spiritual things and not in earthly and material ones. Grant, Lord, that I may ever meditate on the highest, and entirely renounce earthly wisdom. My trust is in Thy goodness! "I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills from whence cometh my help."161161Psalm cxxi. 1

As the word of the man reveals what is in his mind and heart (reveals the mind—unseen, dominating, and creating), and as the breath proceeds from the man through the word, revealing the mind or the thought, so, somewhat similarly, the Word of God reveals to us the Father—that great all-creating Mind—and, through the Word, the Holy Ghost, the life-giving Spirit, Which is the power of the Highest, eternally proceeds from the Father and is revealed to men. "The power of the Highest shall overshadow Thee."162162St. Luke i. 35. Now the words of the Saviour are comprehensible: "No man knoweth the Son but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him."163163St. Matthew xi. 27That is, only the Son reveals the Father unto men, as our word reveals our thought hidden in the soul. Such is the closeness of the union between the Father and the Son! And every Person has Its particular dominion and Its own, so to say, work. And, therefore, the Lord said to his disciples: "If I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart I will send Him unto you."164164St. John xvi. 7.Glory to Thee, Son of God, Who hath revealed unto us the Mystery of the Most Holy Trinity—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost! Thy Word is truth; we live by all and each separate word of Thine. They are our sweetness, peace, and life; especially the words concerning the Comforter.

Strengthen yourself by the undoubting invocation of the Holy Ghost the Comforter. He is well known to you. You so often invoke Him upon the Holy Gifts, and He, at your prayer, unfailingly and continually transubstantiates them, and you yourself partake again and again of the fruits of His divine acts.

You must preserve with the greatest care in your frail vessel, in your heart, the treasure of the Spirit, "the rivers 76 of living water in your belly"; 165165St. John vii. 38. you must watch your heart, must be kind, and refrain from irritability and movements of self-love, from attachments to earthly things, and from impure risings of the flesh; otherwise, the priceless treasure of the Spirit will immediately leave you, peace and joy will vanish from your heart together with that feeling of the extraordinary, angelic, spiritual lightness of the soul, soaring free; the rivers of living water, which only until then flowed and abundantly supplied the furrows of the soul, will also vanish, the soul will be filled with a strange fire, cruelly burning it within, depriving it of peace and joy, filling it with affliction and oppression, and inciting it to irritability and blasphemy. So manifest, so sharply defined is the change within us of the kingdom of God into the kingdom of the enemy, the kingdom of life into the kingdom of death! The Christian sees this with his inward eyes, and marvels at the truth and holiness of God; marvels also at the watchfulness of the enemy, who ever, "as a roaring lion, walketh about seeking whom he may devour."166166Peter v. 8.

God the Father is—life, God the Son is—life, God the Holy Ghost is—life: The Holy Trinity is—life. Life is in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; if you deny in your heart the Father, you deny the life of your heart; if you deny the Son, you deny your life; if you deny the Holy Ghost, you also deny your life. So that your doubt will bring spiritual death into your heart, sorrow and painful oppression, whilst God will remain the God of life in three Persons; if you cast away doubt from your heart, and acknowledge with your whole heart all the Three Persons as your God, as your life, then life will again enter into your heart.

Whilst reading or listening to sacred works, honour heartily in those who wrote them the image of God the Word, or God the Word Himself, speaking through them. Remember always, whilst reading books of spiritual or worldly contents, that man is God's image and that this image of God is in the thought, word, and spirit through which he speaks. Accustom yourself always to look upon every man with deep respect, as upon the image of God, but especially when he speaks, and above all when he speaks of God. Oh, how divine he is then! From being accustomed to men, from being acquainted with them, with their everyday life, from being accustomed to the gift of speech in ourselves and in others, we set little value upon 77 this gift, we even sometimes despise it in others; and thus the devil, through our self-love and inattention, blasphemes the image of God in men. We must by every means humble our hearts and subdue our proud intellect, lest we should be like the contemporaries of the prophets, who looked on them only as sweet-voiced singers, and nothing more; they did not wish to fulfil their commands, they even despised, persecuted, beat, and killed them; lest we should be like those, by whom "no prophet is accepted in his own country."167167St. Luke iv. 24.However insignificant and unimportant the man may be, honour in him the image of God, especially when he speaks with love, and, above all, when he speaks of and does the works of love.

Let us suppose that you have written a book about the Holy Trinity, and have printed a thousand copies of it, or, perhaps, as many as you liked. And in all these copies of your book there is not only the same spirit, but also the same words, and they all have the same form. It is thus with the offering of the Body of Christ. It is offered throughout the universe in an innumerable multitude of churches. The same Trinity acts on all Christian altars; in every lamb168168The bread prepared for Sacrament is called "The Lamb" in the Orthodox Eastern Church (Isaiah liii. 7). there is the one same Christ and His Spirit, as the contents are in the book. Everywhere the offering has the one same form, and thus this most holy mystery is like a single great sacred book of the Lord's love to mankind, prepared in innumerable quantities throughout the universe under the one same form and with the one same spirit living in it, in Whom love abounds, and Who took upon Himself the sins of the world--that is, the Spirit of Christ. Here is another similarity. There are multitudes of individual human beings upon the earth; they all have the same bodily shape, the same soul, with similar, though not identical, capabilities; and all these beings have one name--that of man. All men are similar to each other, and have sprung from the same origin, primarily from God the Father, the Son, and His Spirit, and afterwards from one pair. This is why, amongst other things, God's law commands us to love everyone as ourself, because of the identity of our nature. Thus, you see many persons, and they are one by the identity of the nature of their soul and body. Likewise the Lord, in His life-giving Mysteries--wherever they are offered--is eternally the sole, indivisible, Creator, "and hath made of one blood all nations of men."169169Acts xvii. 26.Through His one Spirit, living in the Holy Sacrament of the Body and Blood, celebrated in all the 78 churches of the world, He wishes to unite us to Himself—we who have fallen from union with Him through sin and obedience to the Devil—and to cut off and cleanse that which in all of us prevents union with Him and with each other," that they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us."170170St. John xvii. 21.Such is the object of the mystery of the Communion.

Why is it wonderful that the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ, and that Christ rests in them as the soul rests in the body? Why is it wonderful when the Devil nestles in a tiny germ (in the heart) of the infant, and grows stronger with the growth of the body, so that afterwards the infant is born with the Devil already concealed and nestling in its heart? O, what infinite goodness and wisdom the Lord has shown by giving us the most pure Mysteries of His Body and Blood, and by the fact that they are received by Christians into their very hearts—that is, there where the Devil nestles, having the power of sin and "the power of death"171171Hebrews ii. 14.—as a perfect antidote to bestow upon us life and holiness, and to drive away sin and death! Just as undoubtedly as the Devil and every sin often nestles in our hearts, so undoubtedly does Christ, the life-giver, our sanctification, dwell in our hearts. Our Lord is mightier than the Devil. If the Devil still lives and works in our hearts through our attachments to earthly things, then how shall not Christ enter into our heart, through faith and repentance, when it was created to be the temple of God? How shall not Christ enter into our heart precisely in His Blood and Flesh, corresponding with our spirituality and our fleshliness? Also, if the Devil can give life and speech to the image of the beast,172172Revelations xiii. 15. then cannot Christ dwell in the bread and wine, transforming them, and completely assimilating them to Himself as His Flesh and Blood?

A burning-glass only sets fire to wood, paper, or any other combustible material when we place it in such a position that the rays of the sun, concentrated in the focus of the glass, being all concentrated upon one point of the object, will act upon it through their entire combined power, and thus direct on the object, as it were, the whole sun on a small scale. It is thus also during prayer, when our souls are warmed, vivified, and inflamed by the wise sun--God, when through our intellect, acting like the burning-glass, we direct upon our heart, as the spiritual point of our being, the mental Sun, and when it acts upon the heart with all its singleness and power. Likewise in regard to the Mother of God, the angels, and the saints. Fix 79 upon your heart their images as they are, with all their power and sanctity; let your heart receive enlightenment from them with all possible fulness and power, and become inflamed by the abundance of their love as by the action of fire--their holiness, purity, goodness, and strength will be communicated to your heart; it will itself be cleansed, itself be strengthened in faith and love; and the more resolutely, the more constantly, your heart is turned towards God and His saints the more it will be enlightened, purified, and vivified.

If you invoke any saint doubting that he is near you and hears you, and your heart is oppressed and contracted, conquer yourself, or, rather, overcome, with the help of the Lord Jesus Christ, the calumniator (the Devil) nestling in your heart; call upon the saint with the hearty assurance that he is near you in the Holy Ghost and hears your prayer, and you will at once feel relieved. Oppression and weariness of heart during prayer proceed from want of sincerity, from the deceitfulness and craftiness of our heart, in the same manner as when, during ordinary conversation with other people, we feel inwardly ill at ease if we do not speak to them from the heart, but untruthfully, insincerely. "It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks."173173Acts xxvi. 14. Be true in heart always and everywhere, and you will always and everywhere have peace, but especially be true in your converse with God and the saints, "because the spirit is truth."1741741 John v. 7.

When praying, we must pronounce each word from the heart with the same power that is contained in each one of them, just as medicines are usually taken with a curative power corresponding to each of them, and bestowed upon them by the Creator. If we leave out the power or the essence of the medicine then it will not take effect, but will only set our teeth on edge; likewise, if during prayer we pronounce the words, disregarding their power, without feeling in our heart their truth, we shall not derive any benefit from the prayer, because true, fruitful prayer must be in spirit and in truth. The words of the prayer correspond to the component parts and the different ingredients of the medicine, each of them having its own power and forming together a curative dose for the body. In the same way as chemists preserve the power of the aromatic medicinal ingredients, keeping them firmly stoppered in glass or other vessels, so we must firmly preserve the power of each word in our heart as in a vessel, and not pronounce it otherwise than with a power corresponding to it.

80

When praying, we must represent to ourselves the whole of creation as nothing before God, and God alone as everything, containing everything as a drop of water, existing, moving in everything, and vivifying everything.

Prayer is a golden link connecting the Christian man, the wanderer and the stranger upon earth, with the spiritual world of which he is a member, and, above all, with God the Source of life. The soul came forth from God, and to God may it ever ascend through prayer. There is great benefit from prayer to those who pray: it gives rest to the soul and the body; it gives rest not only to the soul of him who prays ("I will give you rest'')175175St. Matt. xi. 28. but also to the souls of our departed forefathers, to our fathers and brothers. See how important prayer is!

As smoke from burning wood ascends in the air, so also the soul ascends from the body given over to the burning of corruption.

Conscience in men is nothing else but the voice of the omnipresent God moving in the hearts of men, as He Who alone Is and has created everything, the Lord, knows all as Himself--all the thoughts, desires, intentions, words, and works of men, present, past, and future. However far in front I may let my thoughts, my imagination run, He is there before me and I ever inevitably finish my course in Him, ever having Him as the witness of my ways. "His eyes are open upon all the ways of the sons of men."176176Jeremiah xxxii. 19. "Whither shall I go from Thy Spirit, or whither shall I flee from Thy presence?"177177Psalm cxxxix. 7.

Here before us is a living man. His eyes are fixed upon us, his ears are open to hear; his soul and body are before us, but we see the body and not the soul: we do not see his thoughts, his desires, his intentions, although there is not an instant during which his soul does not think and live in a corresponding manner. So also before us, around us, and within us is visible nature, all God's beautiful world; in it we see everywhere life, harmoninous order, action, but we do not see the Author of life and order, we do not see the Great Architect Himself, although meanwhile he is present at every moment in every place, as the soul in the body, though He is not limited by it; there is not a fraction of a moment during which He, as the All-perfect, Most-wise, All-merciful, Omniscient, Omnipresent, Almighty Spirit, does not think, does not shower 81 benefits and wisdom upon His creatures. There is not a fraction of a moment during which He does not apply His wisdom and omnipotence, for God is a Self-acting Being, infinitely productive. Thus you look upon the world, but look upon it and observe everywhere in it its Author--God, everywhere present in it, filling everything, moving in everything, and ordering everything.

The conscience of every man is a ray of light from the one all-enlightening spiritual Sun--God. Through the conscience God rules over all, as a righteous and Almighty King. And how mighty is His empire through the conscience! Nobody is strong enough to completely silence its voice! It speaks impartially to all and to each, as the voice of God Himself! Through the conscience we are all as one man before God. This is why it seems as if the Ten Commandments referred to one man:--"I am the Lord thy God, thou shalt have no other gods . . . .; thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image; thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain . . . . Remember the Sabbath Day . . . . Honour thy father and thy mother; thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not commit adultery; thou shall not steal; thou shalt not bear false witness; thou shalt not covet;"178178Exodus xx. 1-17. or, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart" . . . . and "thy neighbour as thyself,"179179St. Mark xii. 30, 31. because "he" is exactly the same as "I."

"Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." 180180Ephesians iv. 3. This is a great commandment! It is absolutely necessary to fulfil it. "To keep the unity of the Spirit." This the Son of God ever desired, and still desires. For this He prayed, and still prays, to His Father. "Holy Father! keep through Thine own name," prayed the Lord for His disciples, "those whom Thou hast given Me, that they may be one as We are. . . . Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on Me through their word: that they all may be one; that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me." 181181St. John xvii. 11, 20, 21.You see, therefore, that our unity through the Spirit, through life, loudly proves also the Divinity of the Founder of our faith, the Lord Jesus Christ. He, who wishes to unite all, to make all as one soul, and does so, came forth from the One God, Who created all things, Who has united all things under Him, and Who wishes to raise even those who have separated themselves from union by disobedience, to union with Him through faith and obedience. The teachers who have not come from God, who were not called of Him, not sent by Him ("I 82 have not sent these prophets, yet they ran"182182Jeremiah xxiii. 21; "No man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron"183183Hebrews v. 4.), usually bring into the company of men disunion, diversity of opinion, and thus clearly prove that they are not of God. Such was Luther, such are other teachers of dissent, such are all heretics. They have divided the one Church of God, have cut into parts the indivisible, the united plurality, united under the one Head of the Church--Christ, animated by the one Spirit of God, and have thus proved that they were instruments of the Devil, who strives in every way to divide, scatter, and disperse the Lord's sheep. "The wolf catcheth them and scattereth the sheep."184184St. John x. 12.Glory to the Christian Orthodox faith! Its true fruit ever was, and is, the unity of the faithful between themselves through love and the community of spiritual and material blessings. The farther Christians remove themselves from the spirit of their faith, the more they become divided by self-love; the more they are absorbed in themselves, the lesser community they have in spiritual and material blessings--especially of material ones with those in want--love becomes exhausted in them, and mankind more distressed. True Christianity brings felicity even upon earth, for it looks upon Christians as one great body, whose members are honourable and dishonourable, not by birth, but by their calling and deeds, strong and weak, rich and poor, and the Spirit of God intercedes in the souls of the rich or strong on behalf of the poor and needy--through the community of spiritual and material blessings. "The multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul."185185Acts iv. 32.(It is to the honour of Russia that, in the time of the famine, she rendered unanimous succour to those suffering from the bad harvest.)

Dislike, enmity, or hatred should be unknown amongst Christians even by name. How can dislike exist amongst Christians? Everywhere you see love, everywhere you breathe the fragrance of love. Our God is the God of love. His kingdom is the kingdom of love. From love to us He did not spare His only-begotten Son, but delivered Him up to die for our sakes, "to be the propitiation for our sins."1861861 John iv. 9 In your home you see love in those around, for they are sealed in baptism and chrism with the cross of love, and wear the cross; they also partake with you in church of the "supper of love."187187The Lord's Supper is thus called in the Russian Church.In church there are everywhere symbols of love: crosses, the sign of the cross, the saints who were pleasing to God by their love to Him and to their neighbour, and Incarnate 83 Love Itself. In heaven and upon earth everywhere there is love. It rests and rejoices the heart, like God, whilst enmity kills the soul and the body. And you must show love, always and everywhere. How can you not love when everywhere you hear love preached, when only the destroyer of mankind, the devil, is eternal enmity!

"He that spared not His own Son . . . how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things."188188Romans viii. 32. The essential, the greatest is given; everything else that we ask or pray for is infinitely less than the Son of God. We may therefore ask God for everything trustfully in the name of Jesus Christ, every blessing or gift that we can think of, for "Whatsoever ye shall ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son."189189St. John xiv. 13.Do you pray for the forgiveness of the sins or for the repose of the souls of the departed? "He is the propitiation for the sins of the whole world."1901901 John ii. 2."The Blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin." 1911911 John i. 7.He can forgive even the departed every sin committed by them in word, deed, or thought. "He is the resurrection, the life and the repose of His departed servants". . . Would you ask anything of Him for the living and for yourself? "Ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you." 192192St. John xv. 7.

As the number of stars in heaven is known to the Lord, so the number of the angels of heaven and the number of their thoughts are known to Him; as the number of the grains of the sand of the sea, and of the creatures of the whole earth, with their organs and component parts, both great and infinitely small, are known to Him; as the number of atoms of all elements, small unto infinite infinity, is known to Him, so the number of the whole human race, which was, which is, and which shall be, is known to Him, as well as the number of all the thoughts of those who were, who are, and who will be, and the number of movements of their hearts, of their words and deeds. As in material nature nothing is concealed from Him, not the smallest atom is lost--for how can that which was created by God be destroyed without Him, without His will--so likewise in spiritual nature, not a single thought, not a single idea, not a single movement of the heart, desire or deed are lost for Him--all are counted up in their treasuries in their right number and measure; that is, in the quantity, degree, and power that they really were, excepting the evil thoughts, desires, words, and acts confessed or expiated by amendment of life. The number of all the atoms of the earth and of the atoms of earthly creatures, as well as the number of thoughts and movements of 84 the human spirit, are in this respect completely parallel. Indeed, if that which is created, subordinate, and dead is not destroyed of itself, then how can that be destroyed which has itself received from God the capability of creating, and which is dominating, living? I mean thought, clothing itself in words, and the very author of thought, the soul. And thus, as this is impossible, prepare yourselves, mortals, to answer at the judgment for all your thoughts, desires, words, for all your deeds, good and evil, which await you there, and which were sent there beforehand by you from earth--the good and the evil, unconfessed or not expiated by opposite thoughts, desires and deeds. For all these God will bring you to judgment. Most Merciful Lord! "Enter not into judgment with Thy servants."193193Psalm cxliii. 2."If Thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?"194194Psalm cxxx. 3.

As the greatest luminary is reflected in infinitely small earthly bodies, in their innumerable multitudes, and man's image is reflected in the small pupils of the eyes, so the spiritual Sun, Christ, is represented in small beings, in men, in their infinite multitudes, also in the smallest particles of His Body and Blood, because the First--Life Eternal--is most simple and individual. As the sun, being reflected in a multitude of great and small bodies, lights the whole world, covering it all; so it is with the Lord.

The one same wind, but in an innumerable multitude of places, creates diverse powers: so the one same Spirit of God, but in innumerable assemblies of angels, manifests His power and strength, and in all holy men "bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof."195195St. John iii. 8.

"The Lord keeps" not only "all the bones," 196196Psalm xxxiv. 20. but also the images of the saints, not allowing them to perish through corruption, through carelessness and neglect, but miraculously recovering them, as we know from descriptions of the appearances of thaumaturgical icons, especially of that of the most pure Mother of God--our Lady. So dear to God is the image of man, especially that of a holy man, as a vessel of grace. Through such images He works miracles and bestows invisible powers of healing and consolation.

"God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things."1971971 John iii. 20. Through our spiritual vision we see and know the smallest movements of the heart, all our thoughts, desires and intentions in general, almost everything that is in our soul. But God is 85 greater than our heart. He is within us and around us and everywhere, in every place, as the Single, All-seeing, Spiritual Eye, of which our own spiritual vision is but a small specimen, and, therefore, He knows all that is in us a thousand times better and more clearly than we ourselves; at the same time he knows everything that is in every man, in every angel, and in all the heavenly powers, in every animate and inanimate creature; sees as upon the palm of His hand all that is within us and every creature, being inherent in each one of them, and maintaining each one of them in its existence and functions, as the All-Provident Creator.

As in Jesus Christ "dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily,"198198Colossians ii. 9. so likewise in the life-giving Sacrament of His Body and Blood. In the small human body dwelleth all the fulness of the infinite, uncontainable Godhead, and in the small lamb, or bread, in each smallest particle, dwelleth all divine fulness. Glory to Thy Omnipotence and Goodness, O Lord!

As the sun, though it is itself always in the heavens, but by its rays, as if by innumerable hands, reaches the earth and its entire surface, and communicates itself to all organic bodies, entering into them (the sun enters into bodies by its rays), warming them, giving them life and growth through its warmth, passing through transparent ones, or reflecting in them by its whole circle (there are as many images of the sun as there are transparent bodies), and warming the opaque, solid, and inorganic bodies--so the spiritual Sun, God, although Himself pre-eminently in the heavens, but by His Life-giving Spirit, as though by His rays, communicates Himself to all reasonable creatures, angels and men, penetrating into their spiritual being, sanctifying them, giving them life, strength, and growth, in the same manner as the rays of the sun penetrate into organic and vegetable bodies, giving them life and growth. As the sun, though it is itself in the heavens, lights the whole earth, communicating life to every creature and thing, however insignificant, so likewise the Lord, by the Light of the Trinity, enlightens all men, for He is the true Light, "which lighteth every man that cometh into the world."199199St. John i. 9.

All you who draw near to serve God in prayer, learn to be like Him, meek, humble, and true of heart; do not let there be any deceitfulness or duplicity nor coldness in your soul. Strive to have His Spirit, for "if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His."200200Romans viii. 9. The Lord seeks in us that which is like and akin to Himself, on to which His grace may be grafted. Remember that not a single word is lost during prayer, if you say 86 it from your heart; God hears each word, and weighs it in a balance. Sometimes it seems to us that our words only strike the air in vain, and sound as the voice of one crying in the wilderness. No, no; it is not so! We must remember that God understands us when we pray, that is, our words, just as those who pray perfectly understand the words themselves, for man is God's image. The Lord responds to every desire of the heart, expressed in words or unexpressed.

In communicating with undoubting faith of the Life-giving Sacrament, I am instructed in a sensible manner of the Omnipresence of Christ. In what manner? Because in every particle of the Body and in each drop of the Blood I receive Christ wholly, and thus, through my spiritual vision, I see that He is at the same time wholly in all the particles and drops, whatever their number may be unto infinity. Exactly in the same manner, the Lord is wholly in every temple; and as orthodox temples are to be found upon the whole earth, so the Lord is present upon the whole earth, not only through His Godhead, but both in His Body and Soul; everywhere, wholly and indivisibly, communicating Himself to believers, and bringing forth sweet fruits in them: the purifying of sins, the sanctification of Christian souls and bodies, righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost, uniting all to Himself, to the Father and the Holy Ghost. "We also know that through fervent prayer He enters into the souls of believers with the Father and the Holy Ghost. Being inherent in the whole material world, and vivifying the whole of it together, and each part of it separately, the Lord is still more inherent in men, and especially in Christians, and lives in them: "Know ye not your own selves how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?"2012012 Corinthians xvi. 5. "Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, which is in you?"2022021 Corinthians vi. 19.

The human race is one great tree of God, spreading and growing over the whole earth, and covering the whole earth with its branches. To the original rotten root--fallen Adam--God in His great wisdom and mercy has grafted a new living root--the Lord Jesus Christ--from whom Christians derive their origin, as a shoot from the whole tree. In trees there is organic earthly life; in the Christian race the life of Christ, heavenly, spiritual; and we must look upon the spiritual capabilities and powers of true Christians as upon the powers of Jesus Christ Himself. "We have the mind of Christ,"2032031 Corinthians ii. 16. said the Apostle of true Christians; we must also look upon good works as upon the fruits of the grace of Christ. Christians leading an un-Christianlike life are 87 the dry branches on the shoots coming from the root--Christ; and "every branch in me that beareth not fruit He taketh away . . . and cast them into the fire." 204204St. John xv. 2, 6. Heathens are the unregenerate, inanimate shoot coming from the rotten root--Adam. By faith they also may be grafted on to the living, healthy shoot, to the body of the Church--that is, to the Body of Christ.

Whose are the leaves of the tree? They are God's. Whose are the good thoughts in you? They are God's. Whose is the capacity in the trees to grow and form their tissues, and to produce and develop leaves and fruit? It is God's--that is, given by God. Whose is your capacity of thought and word? It is God's. Do the trees wrongfully use the powers given to them by God? No. Do men wrongfully use the capacities and powers bestowed upon them by God? They do. They misuse them through their intellect, received from God for the purpose of knowing God and His truths; they misuse them through their heart, created for the purpose of loving God and their neighbours, of experiencing the blessedness of communion with God; and they misuse them through free will, given to them for the purpose of endless improvement in virtue.

God works in our body, in its natural function, supporting it, feeding it, and rearing it. He also acts in the grass, or in the trees, or in the animals, clothing the grass,205205St. Luke xii. 28 rearing the tree and adorning it with leaves and fruit, feeding the animals and rearing their bodies. Of ourselves, we cannot do or create anything in our body, not one jot, as it is said, "Thou canst not make one hair white or black."206206St. Matthew v. 36.God is equally in the infinitely great and in the infinitely small, not being limited either by the one or the other, but is wholly present in everything, being indivisible and above all.

Could the leaves exist without the tree, and could the tree itself exist without earth, air, water, and warmth? Likewise no soul can exist without God, without His Son, without His Spirit. God is my being, my breath, my light, my strength, my drink, my food. He carries me as a mother carries her infant in her arms. More than this. Carrying me, my soul and body, He dwells in me, and is united to me.

When praying to God, remember that God is Three Persons; and as He is a Person and Persons, He possesses in infinity all those perfections which we can imagine in any 88 most perfect man, by the grace of God--as, for instance, in the most pure Virgin Mary, in Saint Nicholas the Wonder-Worker, in Saint John Chrysostom, in the apostles, prophets. Filled with the Spirit of God, man is God's image and the likeness of God. From a perfect image, we can partly judge what the Prototype is like. All that is best, that attracts our spiritual gaze and the inclinations of our heart in man, is from God, from His Son, and from His Spirit. For instance, Saint Nicholas was, and still is, compassionate and merciful to men, by the grace of God. He always was, and still is, ready to hear those who call upon him sincerely, through the same merciful heart which he had during his lifetime, and which he still possesses, by the grace of God. Now, is not the Lord Himself compassionate and merciful, and much more compassionate and merciful? Infinitely more, as He Himself is infinitely greater than Saint Nicholas. Or let us take the Apostle Paul. What bowels of compassion there were in the apostle! Writing of the servant of Philemon, he said to his master: "Therefore receive him: that is, mine own bowels."207207Philemon i. 12. How much love is contained in these words! And what love all his epistles breathe! "Our heart is enlarged," wrote he to the Corinthians. "Ye are not straitened in us."2082082 Corinthians vi. 11, 12.He has also described in one of his epistles in what Divine love consists. In reading this description, one feels that the apostle himself had indeed fulfilled all that he wrote concerning love. But whence came this love in the apostle who had previously persecuted and grieved Christ, and who, entering the houses of His disciples, dragged out men and women, bound them, and shut up many mercilessly in prison?209209Acts. ix. 1, 2; xxii. 5; xxvi. 10,11.From the Lord, the Source of love. He alone is eternal, boundless Love, embracing all creatures.

As the Holy Trinity, our God is One Being, although Three Persons, so, likewise, we ourselves must be one. As our God is indivisible, we also must be indivisible, as though we were one man, one mind, one will, one heart, one goodness, without the smallest admixture of malice--in a word, one pure love, as God is Love. "That they may be one, even as We are One."210210St. John xvii. 22.

All men, as well as the angels of God, are the breath of God. This is why the angels are called spirits--or, which is the same, the breath of God--whilst the spirits of men are called souls, because they proceeded from the Divine breath, and breathe through God. In the first Antiphon it is said: 89 "Every soul is quickened by the Holy Ghost, and by His purity is elevated." But all other creatures are also called breath--" Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord"211211Psalm cl. 6.--because they also proceed from the Spirit of God, although they are not endued with reason and freedom. Therefore we must care for every creature, and neither beat nor overwork it. Blessed is the man who is merciful to his beast.

God is a Spirit, an incomplex Being. And in what manner does the Spirit manifest itself? By thought, word, and deed. Therefore God, as an incomplex Being, is not composed of a series or of a multitude of thoughts, or of a multitude of words or creations, but He is wholly, in one incomplex thought, God--the Trinity, or, in one in-complex word--the Trinity, or in three Persons, united together in one. But He is also wholly in everything that exists, penetrating and filling everything with Himself. For instance, when you say a prayer, He is in every word of it, and like a Holy Fire, penetrates each word--everyone may experience this for himself if he will pray sincerely, fervently, with faith and love. But, especially, He is wholly in the names belonging to Him: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, or the Holy Trinity, or the Lord, the Lord God, the Lord God of Sabbaoth, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Holy Spirit, the Heavenly King, the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth . . . and in His other names. The Angels and the Saints are also near to us in their names, as their names and our faith in them are near to our hearts; for they are nothing else but the breath of God, and are "one spirit with the Lord."212212Corinthians vi. 17.

Do the saints, whom we call upon, pray for us? They certainly pray for us. If I, a sinful man, a cold-hearted, sometimes wicked and malevolently disposed man, praying for others who have instructed or have not instructed me to pray for them and do not doubt, do not weary of saying their names during prayer, although sometimes not heartily, then will not God's saints--those lamps and torches, burning in God and before God, full of love to their earthly brethren--pray for me and for us when we call upon them with faith, hope, and love, according to our strength? They, our speedy helpers, pray also for our souls, as our Divinely-enlightened mother, the Holy Church, assures us. Pray, therefore, undoubtingly to God's saints, asking their intercession before God on your behalf. They hear you in the Holy Ghost; only pray in the Holy Ghost, from your soul 90 for when you thus sincerely pray, then the Holy Ghost breathes in you, Who is the Spirit of truth and sincerity, and is our truth and sincerity. The one same Holy Ghost is in us and in the saints. The saints are holy through the Holy Ghost, Who sanctifies them and eternally dwells in them.

Lord! Thou, Whose love to us infinitely surpasses the love of every father, of every mother, of the tenderest wife, have mercy upon us!

Holy Virgin, our Lady! Thou, Whose love to Christians surpasses the love of every earthly mother, of every wife, hear our prayers and save us! May we constantly remember Thee! May we always pray fervently to Thee! May we ever undoubtingly and unfailingly take refuge beneath Thy holy protection!

We pray to the all-merciful and most pure Mother of God--and She prays for us. We glorify Her--She Who is above all glory--and She prepares eternal glory for us. We often say to Her: "Rejoice," and She asks Her Son and God: "My beloved Son, give them everlasting joy in return for greeting Me with joy."

Believe as undoubtingly that God sees you, as you believe that your father, or anyone else standing face to face with you, sees you, only with this difference, that the Heavenly Father sees everything that is in you, entirely what you are, and all creatures, the angels, the saints, us sinners, the animals--sees everything at once in the same way as the sun lights everything at once, besides which "The eyes of the Lord are ten thousand times brighter than the sun."213213Sirach xxiii. 19. A lively sense of God's presence is a source of peace and joy for the soul. Doubt in His presence produces distress, affliction, and oppression. Heartfelt prayer is the source of peace of heart, whilst insincere, superficial, inattentive prayer wounds the heart.

Jesus Christ, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, is an unfathomable abyss of love to men. In this abyss of mercy plenteousness of mercy for all will be found, only turn to God with faith, hope, and hearty contrition for your iniquities and your offences against the Lord, our Master and Benefactor.

God is nearer to us than any man at every time. He is nearer to me than my raiment, nearer than the air or light, 91 nearer than my wife, father, mother, daughter, son, or friend. I live in Him, soul and body. I breathe in Him, think in Him, feel, consider, intend, speak, undertake, work in Him. "For in Him we live, and move, and have our being."214214Acts xvii. 28." For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure."215215Philippians ii. 13. Therefore we must always see God before us at our right hand, we must be strong, and in order not to sin we must so place ourselves that nothing could thrust God from our thoughts and hearts, that nothing could hide Him from us--no undue partiality for food, drink, money, dress, house and its furniture, nor for any person--that no worldly distractions and pastimes could deprive us of our Most-sweet, Most-beloved Lord, but that we may every hour and every minute belong to Him, and perpetually be with Him, as He Himself is perpetually with us, as He constantly cares for us and guards us. But when I sin, or when I have any undue partiality for anything, then He is far from me, not in respect to space, for He at all times fills everything, but in respect to my own spiritual withdrawal from Him, to my own indifference towards Him, in respect to His actually depriving me of His grace and His presence in my heart, for then His enemy, the Devil, dwells in me.

As in a sea, lake, or river every particle of water is united to other particles and is surrounded by them, or as in the air every particle of it is surrounded by other particles and is united to them, so all of us earth-born creatures are surrounded by God on all sides, whilst those of us who are pure, or being purified, are united to Him and are everywhere with Him. All of us earth-born creatures--like water, like air, like a tree with many branches--form one whole, though often broken, by the envy of the enemy, by selfishness, irritability, animosity, disputes, pride, heresy and dissent, envy, avarice, unsociability, and other passions. On the other side, the Devil and his angels also form amongst themselves another whole, like dark, malignant, poisonous water or fiery, suffocating, deadly air. They surround us and endeavour to break into our souls when we are off our guard, or under the domination of various passions, in order to darken, disturb, oppress, inflame, and in every way torment us. Thus, for instance, you may sometimes chance to be walking in the pure sweet-scented air, when suddenly a foul odour from a cesspool strikes your sense of smell in an unpleasant manner, and you wish to pass quickly by this place, so as to breathe the wholesome air again: the stink of the Devil is like unto this. The Lord Himself likens the dark devilish hordes to air and water. He says: "The rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, 92 and beat upon that house" (that is, upon the man, upon the human soul); "and it fell not, for it was founded upon a rock."216216St. Matthew vii. 25

We are in the habit of saying: "Had I not looked, I should not have been tempted;" "Had I not heard, my heart would not have ached;" "Had I not tasted, I should not have desired." You see how many temptations arise from our own sight, hearing, and taste. How many have suffered and still suffer because their hearts were not firm in their good inclinations, because they imprudently looked with impure eyes, because they heard with ears unaccustomed to discern between good and evil, because they greedily tasted! The senses of the sin-loving, greedy flesh, unrestrained by reason and by God's commandments, have drawn them into various worldly passions, have darkened their minds and hearts, deprived them of peace of heart, and taken away their free-will, making them the slaves of these senses. Thus you see how necessary it is to look, listen, taste, smell, and feel prudently; or, rather, how necessary it is to guard your heart so that through your outward senses, as through a window, no sin may steal in, and that the author himself of sin--the Devil--may not darken and wound that heavenly fledgeling, our soul, with his poisonous and deathly arrows.

The soul receives the Lord into it in the Life-giving Sacrament by the thought of faith and by the heart's acknowledgment that the Lord Himself is truly present in the sacrament, whilst our body receives the Lord through the mouth and belly. When the soul receives the Lord with firm faith, then the Lord fills in a single moment both the soul, as an incomplex being, and the whole of the body with all its joints--because the soul fills the entire body, and because of the all-filling property of the Godhead.

In the Christian life, temptations and tests or trials of our spiritual condition are necessary; and as our life, like the furniture of a house, becomes covered with various stains, it is necessary to cleanse it. As for testing objects made, for instance, of silver, instruments are required, so likewise for testing the state of the soul, men are required, like for like, who, willingly or unwillingly, intentionally or quite unthinkingly, show us by their conduct in relation to us, in a manner apparent both to ourselves and others, whether we are obedient to God's commands, declared to us in the Gospel, or not--whether we live according to the spirit, mortifying in ourselves the desires of the flesh, or according to the flesh, being obedient slaves to the will of the flesh and to carnal thoughts and passions; so that we, recognising that we 93 are not living in accordance with the will of God, not in accordance with the commandments of our Sweetest Saviour, but in accordance with our own sinful and blind will, may speedily amend and zealously follow the commandments of the Divine Gospel.

Our body lives by means of those elements of which it is itself formed, constantly absorbing into itself air, water, and other organic bodies; our soul lives by means of the Divine Spirit, from Which it has its origin, and constantly absorbs into itself, for supporting its life, the life of God the Trinity, through the light of the intellect, through good inclinations and desires of the heart and will, and constancy in goodness. As the body, when it is not nourished by the elements natural to it, cannot live, and dies, so our soul, when not nourished by prayer or good thoughts, feelings, and works, also dies. As in our bodily nature the nourishment and growth of the body are satisfactorily accomplished for a time, but if accidentally, through food or drink or breathing, any poison or contagion enters the body, then suffering is at once occasioned, and even death, should not help be given in time; so in our spiritual nature everything goes on satisfactorily for a time, but if it is corrupted by the Devil, then it suffers grievously, becoming as if benumbed, and it requires the speedy help of the heavenly Physician, the God of spirits, which can only be received through the prayer of faith. (The artifices of the Devil in the soul of a man correspond to the action of poison upon the bodily nature; with the difference that the poison of material nature seldom enters into our body, while the artifices of the Devil are always with and about us.) As, for the nourishment and support of the life of our body, the means by which it lives are ever at hand, namely, light, air, water, and food—of which air, as the most necessary element for life, constantly surrounds us, and water also is always easily to be found, as well as vegetable and animal food—so also the forces for supporting the life of our soul are always ready in abundance—its spiritual food, drink, and raiment—in God the Trinity. Being wholly in every place, like air, or like mental light, the Lord is ready at every moment of our life—according to our faith, and on account of the constantly prayerful disposition of our soul—to support our spiritual forces by His all-active grace; to be the uninterrupted light of our mind and heart; the air by which our soul breathes; the food by which it is nourished and strengthened; the life-giving warmth by which it is warmed; and the garment with which it not only covers its sinful nakedness, but with which it also adorns 94 itself as with royal purple—that is, the garment of Christ's justification. Man, every moment of his existence, is between two mediums—material and spiritual—from which he receives everything. The one supports his bodily, the other his spiritual nature; the one is visible nature, the other the Infinite Personal Spirit of God, Which, being wholly everywhere, is above all, and, containing everything, is Itself not limited by anything. Every man of himself is so insignificant and helpless that he receives everything necessary to support his existence, not from himself, but from without; he himself is nothing. And as his body is supported by air, food, and drink, so his soul is supported by prayer, by reading God's Word, and by the communion of the Holy Mysteries. On the other hand, as in the kingdom of the most merciful and Almighty God there is also a place for fallen evil spirits, and as their place of abode is the very air and earth inhabited by men, and as man from the very beginning was allured by them to evil, as they were always, still are, and will be together with the human race until the end of the world, they form, so to say, a medium by which we are surrounded, and in which we live. We, who are free, and at the same time fallen beings—although we were re-established by the Son of God, and have become free through this grace, by faith, love to God, and by good works--ought, by continual prayer to God, to guard ourselves from the antagonistic forces fighting against our soul, wishing to make us their prisoners, and similar to them in spirit. We must be watchful to the utmost so as not to become like unto the sub-celestial spirits of evil by our spirit and acts, lest they should become the breathing of our soul instead of God--lest the evil constituting their nature should become our evil. We must also ever bear in mind that greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world,2172171 John iv. 4 and that the Lord keeps them too in His full power, and only permits them--as much as His goodness, mercy, and omnipotence allow—to act in the world, to teach and correct men. But there are men who have the Devil for their garment, food and drink, in the same manner as true Christians clothe themselves in Christ, and feed upon His Body and Blood. Throughout the world everything is double—one against the other; the spirit and the flesh, good and evil. Satan has his agents and helpers to spread his dominion amongst men; God has the angels, whom He gives to every Christian to guard him and guide him into Christ's blessed kingdom.

Those who do not believe in God's omnipresence in their thoughts and hearts depreciate the power of God, do not 95 ascribe to Him even that property which air possesses, for air is everywhere. Is not the Creator of the air everywhere? Unbelief in God's omnipresence—or, in general, any sin—serves itself as a strong proof that He is everywhere present. Thus at the time of unbelief my heart is straitened, experiences a kind of burning sensation; it is weary and tormented; my mind is darkened, and I am in a state of desolation. But when I believe, with lively faith, that God is everywhere, present in every place, and therefore that He is ever with me and within me, my heart expands; it is free, light, alive, and my mind is clear—I am in a joyful state. Thus the very thing which slays me serves as the most striking proof of the existence of that in which I was doubting. Unbelief torments me, because it is a calumny of my own heart or of the evil spirit against God, Who is my life. The mental denial by my free soul of life itself is naturally and rightly its death. Again, God is a thinking Being, and my soul is also a thinking being derived from the first thought; therefore my intercourse with God takes place through thought, through faith of the heart, which is nothing else but a lively and clear thought that God is in every place. When I have no such thought it signifies that I have the opposite negative one; when the principle that unites my soul to God is cut off, then there is no true life for me, and there only remains the phantom of an outward, false, animal life.

The degrees of beatitude and torment in the next world will be different. This is proved by the present state of the souls of different people or of the same man at different times under different conditions. The more simple, the better and more sociable the man is, the more blessed he inwardly is; the more deceitful, evil, and selfish he is, the more unhappy; the firmer his faith and the stronger his love are, the more blessed he is; the weaker his faith and love are, the weaker, the worse he feels. Thus those who have little or no faith, those who hate their fellow-creatures, are the most unhappy of men. By this we can understand what future torments will be.

Love every man in spite of his falling into sin. Never mind the sins, but remember that the foundation of the man is the same—the image of God. Other people's weaknesses strike us: they are malicious, proud, envious, avaricious, covetous, greedy; but you too are not without evil—perhaps even there is more in you than in others. At least in respect to sins men are equal. It is said: "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God."218218Romans iii. 23. All are guilty before God, and we all 96 equally require His mercy. Therefore, besides loving each other, we must bear with each other and pardon—"forgive them that trespass against us"—in order that our heavenly Father may "forgive us our trespasses." Thus, with all your soul honour and love in every man the image of God, not regarding his sins, for God alone is Holy and without sin; and see how He loves us, how much He has created and still creates for us, punishing us mercifully and forgiving us bounteously and graciously. Honour the man also, in spite of his sins, for he can always amend.

Some men of progress look upon the Church as their enemy. But is there anyone more full of love, more desirous of our welfare, and wiser in his love to men (after God Himself) than the Church? Everything that is most conformable to our nature and most necessary for its good, all this is contained in the Church, as in a treasury, as the words of life are contained in the Gospel. The Church is the true mother of all those who rightly believe in Christ, the truest friend of Christians. She sympathises and answers to all the essential requirements of the soul and body of the Christian by active relief, or by affording help through the power of Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost, in Whom every soul lives.

Concerning praise. The soul involuntarily longs to praise when we gaze upon the starry sky; but still more when, in looking upon the sky and the stars, we represent to ourselves God's providence towards men, how infinitely He loves men, cares for their eternal beatitude, not having even spared His only-begotten Son for our salvation and our repose in the Heavenly Kingdom! It is impossible not to praise God when you remember that you were created from nothing, that you were predestined from the foundation of the world for eternal blessedness, quite without cause, not in accordance with your merits—when you remember what grace God has bestowed upon you for your salvation during all your life-time, what an innumerable multitude of sins are forgiven you, and this not once or twice but an incalculable number of times, what a multitude of natural gifts are bestowed upon you, beginning with health down to the current of air, down to the drop of water. We are involuntarily incited to praise when we see with wonder the infinite variety of things created on the earth, in the animal kingdom, in the vegetable kingdom, and in the mineral kingdom. What wise order in all, both in great and small! We involuntarily praise and exclaim: "O Lord! 97 how manifold are Thy works! in wisdom hast Thou made them all: Glory to Thee, Lord, Who hath created everything!"219219Psalm civ. 24.

If the Church has composed and transmitted for general use prayers and psalms to God the Trinity and to His saints, then this signifies that God hears our prayers and is always near those who pray. But people mostly pray as if there were no God with them, or as if He did not heed their prayers. Let us ascribe to the Lord at least the same amount of attention that good parents show to the requests of their children, at least that provident and attentive love which good parents have for their children. So the Lord Himself teaches: "If ye then," says He, "being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in Heaven give good things to them that ask Him?"220220St. Matthew vii. 11. Thus our requests or prayers will also be fulfilled if we pray with our whole heart. This is true. This is from daily experience.

When malice against anyone is roused in your heart, then believe with your whole heart that it is the work of the Devil working in your heart: hate him and his brood, and malice will leave you. (Do not acknowledge it as anything of your own, and do not sympathise with it.) This is from experience. Unfortunately, the Devil shelters himself behind us, and conceals himself, whilst we are blind, and, thinking we are doing everything of ourselves, begin to stand up for the Devil's works as if they were our own, as if for something just, although every idea of there being any justice in our passion is entirely false, impious, and hurtful. Guide yourself by the same rule also in regard to others. When you see that anybody bears malice against you, do not consider his malice as his own doing; no, he is only the passive instrument of the evil one; he has not yet recognised his flattery and is deceived by him. Pray to God that the enemy may leave him and that the Lord may enlighten the eyes of his heart, darkened by the poisonous, noxious breathing of the spirit of evil. We must pray fervently for all those subjected to passions, for the enemy works within them.

Passions are contagious owing to our spiritual organisation; for instance, malice, even when not yet expressed in words—not expressed by acts, but still concealed in the heart, and reflected slightly in the face and eyes—is already transmitted to the soul of the man against whom I bear malice, and is also perceptible to others; if I am disturbed by passion my disturbance communicates itself to the heart of another, 98 like a kind of spiritual overflow of an impure current from one spiritual receptacle into another. If you eradicate in yourself your passion against your brother, you eradicate the same passion in him too; when you are pacified he will also become pacified. What a close connection there is between souls! How true are the words of the Apostle: "For we are members one of another221221Ephesians iv. 25.; we, being many, are one bread and one body2222221 Corinthians x. 17; and hath made of one blood all nations of men."223223Acts xvii. 26. Therefore the Lord's commandment requires that: "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."224224St. Matthew xxii. 39. It is upon the mutual feeling or understanding of our souls that the efficacy or inefficacy of the words of a preacher is founded; if the preacher does not speak from his heart, but hypocritically, the listeners, by their inward instinct, understand the discordance of the preacher's words with his heart, with his life, and they have not the power which they might have had if the preacher had spoken to them sincerely, and especially if he had himself in reality fulfilled his words. Indeed, between human souls there is too close a connection and communication. This is why good, pious, sincere dispositions, and especially good works, are communicated to the souls of others.

As the man consists of a soul and body, so, correspondingly, there are double means for supporting his life—spiritual and bodily ones. Those for supporting the bodily life are air, food, drink, light and warmth, and those for supporting the spiritual life, prayer (like air), reading the word of God, the life-giving Sacrament, and pious meditations.

You know by experience that neither walls nor the place where you live form any obstacles to the flight of thought; it can in a moment be borne from the house to beyond the clouds, or from one part of the world to another, from one kingdom unto another, from one town to another; but your soul, that thinking, reasoning element, is the image of God—a small image of the Infinite Spirit, God. If your thought is not restricted by four walls, and is not limited by space and time, then what can restrict the Lord, Who has created all things? Can He be restricted by walls—can He be limited by space and time, however infinite according to us they may be? O, His dominion is in every place! His eyes see all and everything. He sees, as upon the palms of His hands, even those who hide themselves in secret places, among the mountains, or in inaccessible castles. This is why the Lord sometimes hides His face from you and leaves you in the anguish of 99 spiritual darkness, so that you may always remember by whose light your soul lives—that is, by the light of God—and that if God turns His face from you and takes His Holy Spirit from your heart, then you will be truly left in the darkness of hell, in infernal torments, and thus you will indeed, although only in part, understand what the future hell will be.

Believe steadfastly and always remember that you have a dual nature, that there are two men in you, the one carnal, diseased by passions, old, of the Devil, seeking carnal things and setting his life upon them; you must mortify the old man within you and not satisfy him in anything, not bend to his sinful, persistent, sickly lamentations; whilst the other man in you is spiritual, new, healthy, of Christ, everywhere seeking Christ, living by Christ (instead of by worldly desires), and finding peace and life in Christ, wishing for nothing in this world but Christ, and counting earthly blessings but dung, in order to win Christ.225225Philippians iii. 8. As we must despise in every way the requirements of the former man because their fulfillment destroys the soul, so we must fulfil in every way the requirements of the latter because they lead to true and eternal life. Let every Christian learn this, and labour to actually fulfil what he thus learns.

Do not be despondent when the clouds of hell, one darker than the other, descend upon your soul; when infernal malice, envy, doubt, obstinacy, and other passions, rise up in your soul; know surely that the gathering of these dark clouds upon your mental horizon is inevitable; but they are not always there and will not remain long; they are like the appearance of dark clouds on the sky in nature--they pass over and disappear, after which the mental atmosphere of the soul is cleared up again. In nature there must be clouds on the sky, and the darkening of the light of day; but these clouds are not constant, they soon pass away, and then the light of the sun shines again with renewed power.

What a wonderful creation is man! Look! that which was created from earth contains the breath of God--personal, independent, free--the image of God Himself. How much wisdom and beauty there are in the construction of man's bodily tabernacle, how much wisdom and love--in a word, how much likeness to God is shown in the life itself of the man who has dominion over the earth; as it is said: "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them 100 have dominion . . . over all the earth."226226Genesis i. 26. But in order that you should not grow proud, see what happens to you, man, when that which is according to God's image in you goes forth from your body as from its temple! You will be as though you had never been, you will disappear from this world; the temple of your spirit will lose all its goodness and beauty, it will become earth, and return unto the ground, from out of which it was taken, 227227Genesis iii. 19. completely mingling with it as a part of it. What a wonderful creation of God is man! God has wonderfully placed in the dust His image, the immortal spirit. But marvel, Christian, still more at the wisdom, omnipotence and mercy of the Creator: He changes and transforms the bread and wine into His most-pure Body and into His most pure Blood, and takes up His abode in them Himself, by His most pure and Life-giving Spirit, so that His Body and Blood are together Spirit and Life. And wherefore is this? In order to cleanse you, a sinner, from your sins, to sanctify you and to unite you, thus sanctified to Himself, and thus united to give you blessedness and immortality. "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!"228228Romans xi. 33.

Have you seen how respectfully, humbly, and orderly subordinates of all classes and all stations behave in relation to their chiefs, and thus, in their mutual intercourse, fulfil their duty of subordination? Have you not seen with what veneration and strict etiquette those that surround a king behave? And all these are only examples of the behaviour of creatures in relation to the Creator; and it is in this right behaviour in respect to the Creator, in their obedience to His laws, that their welfare and the object of their life consist.

Sometimes a man seems to pray fervently, but yet his prayer does not bring into his heart the fruits of peace and joy in the Holy Ghost. Why is this? It is because in praying the appointed prayers he has not sincerely repented of those sins which he has committed during the day, by which he has defiled his heart, the temple of Christ, and by which he has angered the Lord. But had he remembered them, had he repented of them in all sincerity, and judged himself impartially, "the peace of God, which passeth all understanding,"229229Philippians iv. 7. would immediately have entered into his heart. In the prayers of the Orthodox Church there is an enumeration of sins, but not of all; and often the very sins by which we have bound ourselves are not mentioned; therefore, we must absolutely enumerate them ourselves during 101 our prayer, clearly recognising their gravity with a feeling of humility and heartfelt contrition. This is why, in the evening prayers at the enumeration of sins, it is said: "I have done wrong either in this or in that"—that is, it is left to our own will to make mention of these or those sins.

Our faith and Church is like a most honoured, holy, godly, firm, venerable woman, who never grows old, and in whom ever dwells a young, living spirit, giving life to her true children. As we always behave with great respect to old people, honouring their grey hair and wisdom—the fruits of experience—and highly value each of their words, and apply them to our own life, so ought we especially to honour the Church, venerate her holiness, antiquity, her unshaken firmness, her divinely enlightened wisdom and spiritual experience, her soul-saving commandments and ordinances, her divine services, sacraments and rites. How can we do otherwise than respect her, even if only for having saved in her bosom an innumerable multitude of people, transplanting them into the abode of eternal peace and joy, not forgetting them even after their death, but remembering them until now upon earth, eternally praising and glorifying their virtues as her true children? Where will you find a more grateful friend, a more tender mother? And therefore, may Christians attach themselves wholly and with all their hearts to the Church of Christ, that they may be firmly established unto the end of their temporal life! May they all be zealous of the fulfilment of all her commandments and ordinances, and may they obtain in her eternal salvation through Christ Jesus our Lord!

In accordance with God's most wise order in this world, one thing precedes another, and one is changed into another: dishonour and honour, poverty and wealth, health and sickness. Before bestowing wealth upon anyone, God often tries him by extreme poverty, depriving, on the other hand, the rich of everything; before honour, by dishonour; and those raised to honour, by humiliation, so that we may learn to value God's gifts, and not be proud in our prosperity, knowing that it is the gift of the Master, undeserved by us.

It is necessary to rouse the heart to pray, otherwise it will become quite dry. The attributes of prayer must be: love of God, sincerity, and simplicity. We must pray in spirit, because God is a spirit, and not flesh; with truth, and not falsely, because God is the truth. The same may be said in regard to prayers to the saints. Do not call upon them only with the lips--for they have neither lips nor voice, nothing corporeal—but 102 with your heart or soul burning within you. Then they will hear you; for everything seeks that which is akin to it. Yes; not flesh and blood will inherit the kingdom of God, but the pure spirit burning with love to God.

"Quench not the spirit,"2302301 Thessalonians v. 19. says the Word of God. Let every Christian, especially every priest and instructor of children, remember this. We who are priests must especially burn with the spirit in our high service to God and mankind. How much we might have done for God, for men, and for ourselves, if we had applied ourselves to our work with faith and love, zealously, warmly, energetically! And how little, dry, fruitless, will be our service if we do our work indolently, slothfully, coldly, without any zeal and energy! We shall have much to answer for before God, both for ourselves and for those intrusted to our care.

Watch yourself when a poor man, needing help, asks it of you. The enemy will endeavour at that time to chill your heart, and fill it with indifference, and even scorn, towards him that is in want. Overcome in yourself these un-Christian and inhuman dispositions; incite your heart to compassionate love towards this man like unto you in all respects, to this member of Christ and your own--"for we are members one of another"231231Ephesians iv. 25 --to this temple of the Holy Ghost, in order that Christ the Lord may love and help you too; and, whatever the needy may ask of you, fulfil his request according to your power. "Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away."232232St. Matthew v. 42.

Pronounce the words of the prayer with heartfelt firmness. When praying in the evening, do not forget to confess in prayer to the Holy Ghost with all sincerity and contrition, those sins into which you have fallen during the past day. A few moments of fervent repentance, and you will be cleansed by the Holy Ghost from every impurity; you will be whiter than snow, and tears, purifying the heart will flow from your eyes; you will be covered with the garment of Christ's righteousness and united to Him, together with the Father and the Holy Ghost.

Spiritual poverty consists in esteeming oneself as though not existing, and God alone as existing; in honouring His words above everything in the world, and in not sparing anything to fulfil them, even one's own life; in considering God's Will in everything, both for ourselves and others, entirely renouncing our own will. The man who is poor in spirit 103 desires and says with his whole heart: "Hallowed be Thy name, Thy kingdom come, Thy Will be done in earth as it is in heaven." It is as though he himself disappears; everywhere and in everything he wishes to see God--in himself and in others. "Let everything be Thine, not mine. "He wishes to contemplate God's holiness in himself and in all--His kingdom, also His Will; also to see Him alone entirely filling the human heart, as it should be, because He alone is All-merciful and All-perfect, All-creating; whilst the enemy--the Devil and his instruments, and those who oppose God--are thieves in the kingdom of God, and adversaries of God. To him who is poor in spirit the whole world is as nothing. Everywhere he sees God alone giving life to everything, and ruling everything; for him there is no place without God, no moment without God; everywhere and at every minute he is with God, and as though with Him alone. He who is poor in spirit does not dare and does not think of trying to comprehend the incomprehensible, to discover God's mysteries, to philosophise on the highest; he believes in the single word of the Lord, the Life-giver, knowing that every word of His is truth, spirit, and eternal life; and in the words of His Church, ever instructed in all truth by the Holy Ghost, he believes as a child believes his father or mother, not requiring proofs, but perfectly relying upon them. He who is poor in spirit considers himself the very last and the most sinful of all, reckons himself worthy of being trampled under foot by everyone.

How vividly God's Saints represented God to themselves!--the Saints who through the Holy Ghost compiled prayers for their own and our guidance. In what fear and trembling they stood before God in prayer, but also with what love and hope! Every word of their prayers says: "God is with us; and God within us hears each of our words, sees every thought, every wish, every tear."

Sometimes we stand praying in church or at home, in a state of spiritual and bodily prostration; then powerless, cold, unfruitful is our soul, like some heathen, unfruitful temple; but as soon as we make an effort, and force our heart to sincere prayer to God, turn our thoughts and heart towards Him with living faith, our soul immediately becomes vivified, warm, and fruitful. What sudden tranquillity, what lightness, what emotion, what inward holy fire, what tears for our sins, what a sincere feeling of sorrow that by them we have displeased the Most-merciful Master; what light in the heart and mind, what an abundant stream of living water is 104 diffused in the heart, flowing freely from the tongue, or from the pen and pencil, if we are writing, upon the paper! The wilderness of the soul blossoms like a lily at the coming of the Lord into the heart. O, why do we not turn our hearts oftener towards the Lord? How much peace and comfort ever lie concealed in Him for us! "Oh how great is Thy goodness, which Thou hast laid up for them that fear Thee!"233233Psalm xxxi. 19.

How artful and watchful a bird is! It does not let itself be caught in God's wide world, but when it sees anybody approaching and wishing to seize it, it immediately flies up from the earth and thus saves itself from the fowlers. So, also, the Christian must be wise and watchful in order that the incorporeal fowler may not catch his soul. Our soul is like a heavenly bird; the Devil, a wicked fowler, seeking to devour souls. As the bird, flying up to heaven, thus saves itself from the fowler, so likewise we, when we see the enemy--the Devil--striving to catch our soul by means of earthly things, must immediately forsake these things with all our heart, and must not for a moment attach ourselves to them, but must fly up in our thoughts to Jesus Christ, our Saviour, and thus we shall easily be delivered "from the snare of the fowler."2342342 Psalm xci. 3.

The way to succeed in any good work. When you are praying at home, at evening, or at morning prayer, or in the church during Divine service, be solicitous in your heart to accomplish this particular good work, and heartily desire to fulfil it to the glory of God. The Lord and His Most-pure Mother will unfailingly teach you, will instil in your heart some bright idea how to accomplish it. If you wish to write a discourse or a sermon, and do not know what to write about, if there is no living water in your heart, you have only to be solicitous of this during your prayer. The Lord and His Most-pure Mother will unfailingly and clearly show you the subject for your sermon and its parts, and your mind and heart will be enlightened by a clear knowledge of all sides of the subject.

Thank God every day with your whole heart for having given to you life according to His image and likeness--an intelligently free and immortal life. Especially thank God for having restored and guided you again unto life eternal after you had fallen into eternal death, and for having done so not simply by the action of His omnipotence, for this would not have been in conformity to His justice, but by having given for our redemption His only begotten Son, Who suffered 105 and died for us. Thank Him also for again daily bestowing life upon you, who have fallen an innumerable multitude of times, by your own free will, through sins, from life into death, and that He does so as soon as you only say from your whole heart: "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before Thee!"235235St. Luke xv. 18.Thank Him also for often delivering you from sickness, you who imprudently throw yourself into danger and sickness, the precursors of bodily death, for correcting your faults, and for not depriving you of earthly life, knowing that it is dear to you, and that you are not yet ready for the future, eternal life. Thank Him for all your means of existence, for all the joys and sorrows of life; for everything is from Him, the All-merciful Father; everything comes from the First Origin of Life, Who has apportioned and lent life to all.

That man is of a noble and elevated spirit who mercifully and generously scatters his gifts upon all, and rejoices when he has an opportunity of doing good and giving pleasure to everybody without thinking of being rewarded for it. That man is of a noble and elevated spirit who never grows conceited and haughty towards those who frequent him and avail themselves of his bounties, does not neglect them in any respect, does not underrate them in any degree in his thoughts, but esteems them as he esteemed them at their first meeting with him, or much higher than at that time. As it is, it often happens that we grow conceited and proud towards those who have become ours, and, having become accustomed to them, speedily grow tired of them, and reckon them as nothing: we often place a man lower than a beloved animal or a beloved object.

It is sometimes well during prayer to say a few words of our own, breathing fervent faith and love to the Lord. Yes, let us not always converse with God in the words of others, not always remain children in faith and hope; we must also show our own mind, indite a good matter from our own heart also. 236236Psalm xliv. 1. Moreover, we grow too much accustomed to the words of others and grow cold in prayer. And how pleasing to the Lord this lisping of our own is, coming directly from a believing, loving, and thankful heart. It is impossible to explain this: it is only needful to say that when you are praying to God with your own words the soul trembles with joy, it becomes wholly inflamed, vivified, and beatified. You will utter few words, but you will experience such blessedness as you would not have 106 obtained from saying the longest and most touching prayers of others, pronounced out of habit and insincerely.

When you ask anything of the Lord, immediately contemplate His merciful and generous Right Hand, bestowing upon you His gifts, for it is His Right Hand that has given, and still gives, from God's abundance, everything to all, and consider as foolishness any doubt whether you will or will not obtain that which you ask for - a foolishness similar to that of which the Psalmist said, "The fool hath said in his heart: there is no God."237237Psalm xiv. 1. Thus, in asking any good and generous man for help, we represent to ourselves beforehand his outstretched hand; for earthly benefactors, after the example of their All-merciful Father, are merciful and generous, and give us that which we ask them for immediately after our request, as it is said: "What man is there of you, whom if his son shall ask bread, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father, Which is in heaven, give good things to them that ask Him?"238238St. Matthew vii. 9-11.

When you experience oppressive waywardness of heart and unbelief in respect to any object of faith, then know that the enemy is in your heart, and that he mocks at your ignorance, your weakness, and your inconstancy in faith. Sincerely condemn at once your foolishness, your blindness, your sinful inconstancy in faith, and your ingratitude to God, for the former light of your heart and former benefits, received by you through faith in that object (for instance, in the relics of the saints) which your heart in its sinful obstinacy now denies, or in which it does not now believe as it formerly believed, and the Master will have mercy upon you; your anguish will cease, and you will be at rest. O, the enemy wishes that even in matters of faith everything should be in accordance with his falsehood!

The new man (regenerate) finds pleasure in obedience, whilst the old man wishes to resist and obey. Therefore, O Lord, Thy Will be done. I accept, as an expression of Thy Will, all that is required of me by the authorities set over me, all that others do to me (patience), all that happens to me, for nothing happens without Thee. Thou art in everything, throughout all and everything.

God is a spiritual Being from Whom everything has received its existence, and without Whom nothing can be imagined; 107 in Whom everything has its origin, continuation, life, and preservation; Who is infinitely greater than any time and space; Who never had either beginning nor ending; before Whom everything is as though it did not exist, Who is wholly everywhere; Who is not restricted either by any space or any atom, nor mountain, nor heavenly body, nor sea, nor air, nor fire, nor earth; Who Himself eternally fills all space, and Who Himself by His Power keeps in existence everything that exists, Who is in every place, in every unimaginable point of space, and Himself unlimitedly contains every space--in a word, God is that Which Is, that is to say, as it were, alone existing, the One Who Is.

If, during service, your brother does anything irregularly, or somewhat negligently, do not become irritated, either inwardly or outwardly with him, but be generously indulgent to his fault, remembering that during your life you yourself commit many, many faults, that you yourself are a man with all infirmities, that God is long-suffering and most merciful, and that he forgives you and all of us our iniquities an innumerable multitude of times. Remember the words of the Lord's Prayer: "And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us." These words should always remind us that we ourselves at all times are great trespassers, great sinners before God, and that, remembering this, we should be humble in the depths of our hearts, and not be very severe to the faults of our brethren, weak like ourselves; that as we do not judge ourselves severely, we must not judge others severely, for our brethren are--our members, like ourselves. Irritability of temper proceeds from want of self-knowledge, from pride, and also from the fact that we do not consider the great corruption of our nature, and know but little the meek and humble Jesus.

God tries the various sinful attachments of our hearts in different ways: one, the miserly, He tries by the loss of his money or his property, or a part of it, allowing thieves to steal, or brigands to rob him; another by fire, or inundation; another by useless expenditure through unsuccessful business affairs; another by illness and expenses for medicines and doctors connected with the illness; another by the loss of wife, sister, or friend; another by dishonour. He tries all in different ways, in order to disclose to each the weak diseased parts of his heart, and to teach each one to correct himself. In many a sword shall pierce through their own soul that the thoughts of their hearts may be revealed.239239St. Luke ii. 35. Therefore, whatever loss may have occurred 108 to your property, believe that it is the will of God, and say: "The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord."240240Job i. 32.

Why does a man sometimes suddenly get into such a frenzy that he becomes violently angered, speaks quickly, abruptly and incoherently, wrings his hands, tears his hair, or in his passion strikes others, foolishly breaks everything that falls into his hands, and behaves like a madman, or like one infuriated? Evidently because in his heart the subcelestial spirits of evil are working, instigating men to every wickedness, and breathing evil and destruction upon all and everything. Why are there both suicides of all kinds, as well as murderers of others? From the working of the immemorial suicide and murderer--the Devil--in the hearts of suicides and murderers. This is why Christ, the Saviour, and the Christian religion command everyone to have that meekness and humility which do not allow the spirits of evil and pride, seeking the death of all and each one, to work in the hearts of true Christians. The Lord says: "Learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart."241241St. Matthew xi. 29. The wrath of man is a terrible unnatural phenomenon in a man; it is often aroused in the heart by the most unimportant causes--mostly through the self-love or pride concealed in our heart. We must remember that "The wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. "James i. 20.

For him who truly believes in God, all material earthly things and all visible worlds, as it were, vanish; he cannot imagine a point of space without God; everywhere he contemplates the One Infinite Being--God. He represents to himself that with every breath of air he breathes God; for him the Lord is everywhere and in everything, and creatures as though they did not exist, while he himself willingly vanishes mentally in order to give place also in himself to the one God, Who alone is, and Who works within him in everything.

Sometimes, just when we begin to delight in the Lord, the enemy soon after, either himself or through men, brings the greatest sorrow upon us. Such is the lot of those who are labouring in this life for the Lord. For instance, you have just received peace and joy in the cup of the Lord, and sometimes immediately after the service a fiery temptation assails you, and with it the affliction connected with it; even at the very Cup the enemy sets his snares for you and disturbs you by various thoughts, against which you must fight, or else, knowing that you have wished for a long, long time to find rest in God, the 109 enemy will not allow it. As long as the passions still work in us, as long as the old man lives and is not dead within us, until then much sorrow must befall us from various temptations in life and from the struggles between the old man and the new.

Great encouragement, consolation and hope are afforded to those who pray by the following reassuring words of the Lord: "Ask, and it shall be given you . . . ." and further, "What man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?"242242St. Matthew vii. 7, 9. If anyone asks me anything, and I, though evil and corrupt by nature, listen to his requests, his words moving my heart to compassion and help, and my hand to giving, then will not my words, my most sincere prayer, move the Fount of mercies, the Lover of mankind, to have mercy upon me and help me, I, who am a sinner, but still His creature, and the work of His hands? If earthly fathers are merciful, will not the Heavenly Father be still more merciful? If I am merciful, will not God, the source of all mercy, be still more merciful? "If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask Him?"243243St. Matthew vii. 11.Let your faith and hope in God be strengthened by the earthly relations of fathers to their children. For all of us are the children of the Father which is in heaven, Who is in truth the one Father of all creatures.

When you feel that there is no peace in your heart, through an undue partiality towards anything earthly and worldly, and that, besides this, the heart breathes irritability and malice, be immediately on your guard, and do not let your heart be filled with the devilish fire. Pray fervently, and strengthen by the power of God your passionate, impatient heart. Be firmly assured that the evil is kindled in your heart by the enemy; he chiefly assaults the heart through a full stomach. This is from experience.

When you go to visit any of your relations or friends, do not go to their house in order to eat and drink well, but go there in order to take part in friendly and sincere conversation with them, to refresh your soul from worldly vanities by friendly and loving intercourse, to be mutually comforted by your common faith. For "I seek not yours, but you,"2442442 Corinthians xii. 14. says the Apostle.

Charity, it is said, "rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth." 2452451 Corinthians xiii. 6. It often happens to us to see the unrighteous sinful doings of men, or to hear of them, and we have a sinful 110 habit of rejoicing at such doings, and of shamelessly expressing our joy by foolish laughter. This is wrong, unchristian, uncharitable and impious. It shows that we have not Christian love for our neighbour in our hearts: for charity "rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth."2462461 Corinthians xiii. 6.Let us, therefore, cease doing this, so that we may not be condemned with the workers of iniquity.

Do not breathe malice, vengeance, and murder even towards animals, lest your own soul should be given up to death by the spiritual enemy breathing wickedness in you even towards dumb animals, and lest you should become accustomed to breathe malice and vengeance against men also. Remember, that animals are called to life by God's mercy that they may enjoy their existence as much as they can during their short life. "The Lord is good to all."247247Psalm cxlv. 9. Do not beat them, if they are unreasonable, or if they play tricks, or if any of your property is damaged by them. "Blessed is the man who is merciful to his beast."

When holy peace reigns in my soul, then surely the King of Peace dwells within me, the Lord Jesus Christ, with the Father, and the Holy Ghost, and then especially I ought to be full of feelings of gratitude to the Lord of Peace, and endeavour with all my strength to preserve this peace within me by means of fervent prayer and by abstaining from every sin, both inward and outward.

The Comforter, the Holy Ghost, who fills the whole universe, passes through all believing, meek, humble, good, and simple human souls, dwelling in them, vivifying and strengthening them. He becomes one spirit with them and everything to them--light, strength, peace, joy, success in their undertakings, especially in a pious life, and everything good--"going through all understanding, pure and most subtil spirits."248248Wisdom of Solomon vii. 23. "We have been all made to drink into one Spirit."2492491 Corinthians xii. 13. All pious people are filled with the Spirit of God similarly as a sponge is filled with water.

When you walk in a forest, garden, or meadow, and see the young shoots of the plants, the fruits on the trees, and the variety of the flowers of the field, learn a lesson from God's plants--namely, the lesson that every tree each summer unfailingly puts forth at least one shoot of considerable size, and unfailingly grows in height and dimensions. It seems as though every tree endeavours each year to advance by the strength that God has 111 given it; therefore, say to yourself, "I, too, must each day, each year, absolutely grow higher and higher morally, better and better, more and more perfect; must advance on the road to the Kingdom of Heaven, or to the Father which is in Heaven, through the strength of our Lord Jesus Christ and His Spirit dwelling and working within me. As the field is adorned by a multitude of flowers, so should the field of my own soul be adorned by all the flowers of virtue; as the trees bring forth flowers and afterwards fruit, so must my soul bring forth the fruits of faith and good works."

Do not passionately care for your flesh; do not cherish it; do not gratify it; and do not strengthen it against the spirit. Otherwise, when it is necessary to labour in spirit--for instance, to pray or write a spiritually moral work--you will find that the flesh has overpowered the spirit and has bound it hand and foot. The flesh overthrows all the impulses of the spirit, and will not let it rise and come to its full power. The spirit will then be the slave of the flesh.

Our love for God or for our neighbour will especially show itself, and its purity, strength, and constancy will be revealed when there is a contrary power (of the Devil) struggling and acting like fire in our hearts, and endeavouring to implant aversion, antagonism, contempt, hatred, and enmity in our hearts. Love is strengthened within us when the opposing forces endeavour, so to say, to uproot it, whilst we struggle in every way against these opposing forces, and by our struggle with the enemy purify, raise, and strengthen our love. It is in reward for this constant battle out of love for God and our neighbour, for this firmness, for this fiery, stubborn, constant, invisible war against the sub-celestial spirits of evil, that God weaves the shining heavenly crowns for the wrestlers of love for God and their neighbour. In this respect holy ascetics, known as the Holy Fathers, are worthy of thousands of crowns. They, out of love for God, forsook the world and all that is in the world; they went away into desert, uninhabited places, and there, shut up in their cells, they spent all their life in thinking of God, in prayer, in renouncing their own will, in fasting, watching, labouring, and in doing great deeds for the love of God, enduring during their whole life the assaults of the opposing forces, endeavouring by every means to shake their faith and trust in God, and especially their love for Him. To fight, for the love of God, against our own flesh and the Devil--that crafty, mighty, and evil enemy--not for some hours, days, and months, but for many years, sometimes sixty or seventy--is not this worthy of crowns? And what, in comparison with these 112 ascetics, or Holy Fathers, are men living in the world, falling so often into sin even without being assaulted, and defeated by their own flesh without even being attacked? What in comparison to holy ascetics are worldly men, living in accordance with their own will, in luxury, in the pleasures of every kind, gorgeously apparalled and living delicately,250250St. Luke vii. 25. given over to pride, ambition, envy, hatred, avarice, irritability, wrath, revenge, amusements, fornication, drunkenness--to all possible vices, although not all in the same person? They are caught alive, without any resistance, in the power of the Devil, and therefore he does not attack them, but leaves them long entangled in his nets in the peace and self-forgetfulness that precede death.

Remember the words of the Scripture: "Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good."251251Romans xii. 21. People offend you, irritate you, breathe contempt and malice against you; do not repay them in the same way, but be gentle, meek, and kind, respectful and loving towards those very persons who behave unworthily to you. If you are agitated yourself, and speak excitedly, rudely, contemptuously--that is, unlovingly--then you will be vanquished yourself, and those who offend you will have the right to say, "Physician, heal thyself," 252252St. Luke iv. 23. or "Why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? . . . First cast out the beam out of thine own eye."253253St. Matthew vii. 3, 5.Do not wonder, then, if the affronts of those who offend you are often repeated, for they will notice your weakness and will irritate you intentionally. "Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good." 254254Romans xii. 21.Show the one who offends you that he has not offended you, but himself; pity him heartily for being so easily overcome by his passions--for being spiritually sick; and the more rude and irritated he is, the more hatred he nourishes towards you, the more meekness and love you must show him. Then you will surely conquer him. Good is always stronger than evil, and therefore always conquers. Remember also that we are all weak, are very easily overcome by passions, and therefore be meek and indulgent to those who sin against you, knowing that you yourself often suffer from the same infirmity as your brother. Forgive those who trespass against you, so that God may forgive your trespasses, incomparably greater than the trespasses of others against you. Be always calm, lofty in spirit, unsuspicious, firm, simple, and kind-hearted, and you will always triumph over your enemies. "He that reproveth a scorner getteth to himself shame. Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee."255255Proverbs ix. 7, 8.

113

Sometimes the enemy uses his wiles against us in such a manner that when we see any sin or vice in our brother, or in society, he strikes our heart with indifference and coldness and reluctance, or rather with shameful cowardice, to say a firm, accusatory word against the iniquity, to break the horn of the sinner. Christ, my King! give me apostolic zeal and the fire of the Holy Ghost in my heart, so that I may ever boldly rise up against insolent vice, especially against the vice that corrupts many; and may I not spare anyone, both for the sake of their own salvation and that of the rest of Thy people, in order that they should not be seduced, seeing the overflow of vice, and that they should not themselves fall! "Whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in Me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea,"256256St. Matthew xviii. 6. "For the Son of Man is come to save that which was lost."257257St. Matthew xviii. 11.

When the foolish thought of counting up any of your good works enters into your head, immediately correct your fault and rather count up your sins, your continual and innumerable offences against the All-merciful and Righteous Master, and you will find that their number is as the sand of the sea, whilst your virtues in comparison with them are as nothing.

When your heart is struck by avarice, say to yourself: "My life is Christ, the Beloved of all. He is my inexhaustible wealth, my inexhaustible food, my inexhaustible drink. Our blind flesh dreams of finding life in food and in money, and bears ill-will against those who deprive it of these material means of life. But be firmly persuaded that your life is not money and food, but mutual love for the sake of love for God. Remember that God is Love, uniting all things animated by the laws of love, and bringing forth life from the union of love.

When praying, keep to the rule that it is better to say five words from the depth of your heart than ten thousand words with your tongue only. When you observe that your heart is cold and prays unwillingly, stop praying and warm your heart by vividly representing to yourself either your own wickedness, your spiritual poverty, misery, and blindness, or the great benefits which God bestows every moment upon you and all mankind, especially upon Christians, and then pray slowly and fervently. If you have not time to say all the prayers, it does not matter, and you will receive incomparably greater benefit from praying fervently and not hurriedly than if you had said all your prayers hurriedly and without feeling: "I had rather speak five words 114 with my understanding than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue."258258 11 Corinthians xiv. 19.But it would, of course, have been very well had we been able to say these ten thousand words in prayer with due understanding and feeling. The Lord does not forsake those who labour for Him and who stand long before Him; for with what measure they mete, He will measure to them again, and He will reward them for the abundance of the sincere words of their prayer by sending into their souls a corresponding abundance of spiritual light, warmth, peace, and joy. It is well to pray long and continually; but "All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given."259259St. Matthew xix. 11, 12. It is better for those who are not capable of long prayers to say short prayers, but with a fervent spirit.

In the perpetual miracle of the transubstantiation of the bread and wine into the true Body and Blood of Christ united with His Divinity and soul, I see the miracle of the perpetual quickening of man by the divine breathing, and of his creation into a living soul. It is written: "And man became a living soul,"260260Genesis ii. 7. but upon the Holy Altar the bread and wine, after their transubstantiation become not only a living soul, but a quickening spirit.2612611 Corinthians, xv. 45.And this is all accomplished before my eyes; and I experience it both with my soul and my body, feeling it vividly. My God! How terrible are the mysteries which Thou createst! Of what unspeakable Mysteries hast Thou made me the witness and partaker! Glory to Thee, my Creator! Glory to Thee, Creator of the Body and Blood of Christ!

Even the saints of God were at times seized with diabolical despair and despondency. What, therefore, can we sinners expect? O, the enemy often wounds us by the wrath, humiliation, and cruel despondency of the heart! We must continually turn to God and be every moment with Him, in order that we may not be besieged with the wrath and despondency of the enemy. There are other means besides of escaping from them--the broad way of the world; only if you give yourself up to worldly pleasures, despondency will leave you for a time, at least while the pleasures last. But afterwards you will be captivated by these pleasures; they will become a necessity to you, and you will find comfort and joy in them, and in them alone; but may God preserve every Christian from finding his only way of escape from the despondency of the Devil through such means! It is better to walk in the narrow path, to patiently bear despondency, and to seek frequent help and deliverance from the Lord Jesus Christ, Who always rejoices 115 those labouring for their salvation for His sake, than to enter on the broad and smooth way of the world and purchase there, by means of the pleasures of the flesh, freedom from the spirit of despondency. By means of this spirit of despondency the enemy has driven many from the narrow path of salvation on to the broad, smooth path which leads to destruction.

You are praying, your prayer is successfully accomplished, and you have inward proof that the Lord hears it and deigns to receive it favourably; your thoughts are at peace, you feel lightness and sweetness in your heart; but at the end of your prayer, through some slight infirmity of your heart and thoughts, a heavy burden falls on your heart, a weakening fire, and you feel an extreme difficulty in praying, and even an aversion to it, instead of the former lightness and inclination to prayer. Do not despair, friend; these are only the snares of the enemy, who loves to mock at us, especially at the end of our pious employment, so that we may fall into despondency and consider all our previous labours in the holy work lost. Learn from this in future not to extinguish your spirit even for a moment during your prayer; pray in spirit and truth, unremittingly, and not flattering the Lord during prayer by one single word--that is, not pronouncing a single word feignedly, hypocritically; let your prayer be only the expression of truth, the mouthpiece of the Holy Ghost, and do not let it serve by a single word the enemy's lie, nor be in any way the organ of the Devil. And to release your soul from his heavy load and to extinguish his fire, pray fervently to God, heartily confessing your fault before Him--your hypocrisy during prayer--and you will obtain relief and peace. Do not hurry; say and do everything calmly. You will succeed. It is the enemy who hurries and disturbs us, for there is no sense in confused hurry.

"Our Father! Thy kingdom come." The Lord reigns everywhere, in the whole visible world (being in every place) and in all the angelic hosts. He also reigns by his infinite Power and Truth over the spirits of evil, and over evil and unrighteous men. Some of them He has bound in everlasting chains of darkness for judgment at the great day, and others he punishes in various ways in this life, and will punish in the future life with inextinguishable fire. But He, the Truth, does not reign in demons and in unrighteous men by His truth, because falsehood is in them; He does not reign in them by His love, because malice is in them; He does not reign in the unrighteous by faith, neither by hope, but He reigns in them by the strict fulfilment of His laws. "Why 116 call ye Me Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?"262262St. Luke vi. 46. "Keep My commandments."2632632 St. John xiv. 15. He reigns in every action of my body and soul, even in the smallest (for instance, in speech), for my body obeys His laws in feeding, repose, sleep, growth, and walking, and both thought and word are formed and move in accordance with His laws; but He does not always reign in my heart, in the inclinations of my heart and in my free-will. I frequently incline to evil and do evil, instead of the good offered to me. I often oppose Him and His laws. I am often incredulous, unbelieving, selfish, proud; I often despise others, envy others, am avaricious, covetous, sensual, gratifying my sinful flesh in every way; ambitious, impatient, irritable, slothful, doing few or no good works at all, and if any, more from a concurrence of favourable circumstances than from the free inclination and tendency of my heart; do not pity those who suffer, as members of the one body of the Church--in a word, the Lord does not always reign in me by thoughts, feelings, and acts of faith, hope, and love.

We must pray that we may be constantly and firmly assured in our hearts that everything we have--both of soul and body, in prosperity and adversity, and all our possessions as well as all the circumstances of our life--come from God, from His Power, and not from nature, or chance, or from ourselves. If you cease praying to God, you will soon forget your Benefactor, Creator, and Lord, and in forgetting Him you will fall into every evil. Therefore, you see that prayer always brings you real benefit.

Both the spiritual and bodily powers of a man increase and become perfected and strengthened by their exercise. By exercising your hand in writing, sewing or knitting, you will accustom it to such work; by frequently exercising yourself in composition you will learn to write easily and well; by exercising yourself in doing good works or in conquering your passions and temptations, you will in time learn to do good works easily and with delight; and with the help of God's all-active grace you will easily learn to conquer your passions. But if you cease writing, sewing, knitting, or if you only do so seldom, you will write, sew, and knit badly. If you do not exercise yourself in composition, or do so very seldom, if you live in the material cares of life only, it will probably become difficult for you to connect a few words together, especially upon spiritual subjects: the work set you will seem to you like an Egyptian labour, if you cease praying, or pray seldom; prayer will be oppressive to you. If you do not fight against your passions, or only do so seldom and feebly, you will find it very difficult 117 to fight against them, you will often be conquered by them; they will give you no rest, and your life will be poisoned by them, if you do not learn how to conquer these evil, inward enemies, that settle in your heart. Therefore labour and activity are indispensable for all. Life without activity is not life, but something monstrous—a sort of phantom of life. This is why it is the duty of every man to fight continually and persistently against the slothfulness of the flesh. God preserve every Christian from indulging it! "They that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts."264264Galatians v. 24. "Unto everyone that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance; but from him that hath not, shall be taken away even that which he hath." 265265St. Matthew xxv. 29.

A man who is wrathful with us is a sick man; we must apply a plaster to his heart—love; we must treat him kindly, speak to him gently, lovingly. And if there is not deeply-rooted malice against us within him, but only a temporary fit of anger, you will see how his heart, or his malice, will melt away through your kindness and love—how good will conquer evil. A Christian must always be kind, gracious, and wise in order to conquer evil by good.

If anyone has offended you, do not bear malice, and when he who has offended you looks kindly upon you and turns to speak to you, do not let your heart incline to evil, but talk pleasantly and good-humouredly to him, as if nothing had happened between you; learn to conquer evil by good, malice by kindness, meekness, and humility. Do not say in your heart to him who has offended you: "What! he speaks to me, after having offended me, counting his offence against me as nothing! I do not consider him worthy of speaking to me; I reject, despise him; let him learn what it is to offend me." Do not be proud and bear malice. Do not say thus, lest the Lord be angered by your hard-heartedness.

All the material world is as nothing before God; only spiritual beings—that is, angels and men—are something. Only those creatures have a lasting existence who are near to God, and have His image and likeness; the remainder pass away like shadows—"Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away." 266266St. Matthew xxiv. 35.

We must always remember that the Devil is continually trying to choke our soul with the dust of hell, of which there is already too much within us, and which is small and various; and 118 thus, whether your heart be obscured by animosity, or impatience, or irritability, or by grudging your material possessions to your brother or yourself--that is, avarice- -or by love of gain, or love of money, or by the quarrelsome and offensive words of others, or by despondency and despair, or by envy, doubt, or incredulity, or by open unbelief, or by vanity, or by slothfulness in prayer or in any good work, and in general in the performance of your duty, say to yourself with firm assurance: "This is the dust of the Devil; this is the darkness of hell." By faith and hope in the Lord, by continual watchfulness over yourself, you will be able, with God's help, to escape from this dust and darkness. "He that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not." 2672671 John v. 18

All my happiness and unhappiness are contained in the thoughts and inclinations of my heart. If the thoughts and inclinations of my heart are in accord with God's truth or with the will of my God, then I am at rest, filled with divine light, joy, and blessedness; if not, I am uneasy, filled with spiritual, soul-corrupting darkness, heaviness, and despondency. If I completely change the false, impious thoughts and inclinations of my heart into true ones, pleasing to God, then I again obtain rest and blessedness.

My neighbour is a being with equal rights as myself, a man, like me also made after the image of God; and as he is the same as I am I must love him as I love myself. "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself,"268268St. Matthew xxii. 39 --therefore I must watch over him as over my own flesh and blood, behave lovingly, gently, and kindly to him, forgiving him his thoughts as I should willingly forgive myself my own, as I long for forgiveness or indulgence from others towards my own weaknesses--that is, that other people should not even notice them, as though they did not exist, or that they should notice them gently, kindly, pleasantly, and benevolently.

In order to communicate of the life-giving Sacrament with undoubting faith and to vanquish all the wiles, all the calumnies of the enemy, represent to yourself that that which is received by you from the Cup is "He Which is"--that is, alone existing. If the disposition of your thoughts and of heart is such, then by receiving the Holy Mysteries you will obtain peace, joy, and new life, and will recognise in your heart that the Lord truly and essentially dwells within you, and you in the Lord. This is from experience.

119

In praying to Our Lady, you call Her an abyss of mercies and bounties. Try yourself to be like Her, as far as lies in your power, in mercy and bountifulness in regard to those who have need of your mercy and bounties. Do not be angry with them, do not despise them, but love them the more they require your help. Consider their position clearly and soberly according to the teaching of the Gospel, often putting yourself in their place--and our Lady will multiply Her mercies upon you.

Your words are unequal: some vivify, and others slay your soul, or, perhaps, that of your neighbour. Therefore, it is said: "Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt." 269269Colossians iv. 6. "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers."270270Ephesians vi. 29.

The incorporeal enemy enters the heart of man through satiety and drunkenness--this can be felt by anyone who is observant. This is the reason why, with the growth of drunkenness, the inclination to drunkenness increases so terribly (because the power of the enemy over the man increases)--this is why you notice in drunkards a power involuntarily drawing them to satisfy their passion or their inward craving for wine. The enemy is in the hearts of these unhappy people. How can the demon of drunkenness be driven out? By prayer and fasting. The enemy enters the hearts of men because they have given themselves up to a carnal mode of life--to gluttony, and because they do not pray. It is, therefore, natural that he can be driven out from them by opposite means--that is, by prayer and fasting.

What would it have been if God's preventive grace had not been bestowed upon us; if it did not unexpectedly, suddenly embrace all our being after we have sinned, and incline our hearts to repentance and tears? What if it had been left to us to obtain it by our own efforts only? How accursed would we men then have been! Few, very few, could have been delivered from the burden of their sins, for our nature is slothful in exerting itself to effort, especially in the spiritual life; and without help, without powerful facility and the delights of spiritual labours, it would have abandoned them, and would have thrown aside the work of its salvation. But now God, the Most Wise and Merciful Father, sometimes lightens and sweetens our spiritual burden, sometimes makes it heavier for our trial, to teach us patience, and to weaken our crafty, destructive flesh, wisely changing the one by the other; and the work of our salvation, 120 thank God, is thus always made possible--not too difficult, and very often pleasant to us.

How inexpressibly sad it is to see that on the Lord's festivals the enemy collects his tax--and an exceedingly great one it is--from Christians! And the greater the festival the heavier the tax that Christians pay the enemy; for what do we see on the festivals? Perfect idleness, unbridled passions, brawls, profligacy, thefts, amusements. My God! What gratification of the flesh! What zealous service to the Devil! Are these people really Christians, redeemed by the precious Blood of the Son of God? Are we living in Christian times and not in Pagan ones? Are these men communicants of the life-giving Sacrament? Are these the same people who frequent God's temple and pray to the Lord together with us? If they are, then for what purpose do they go to church? Evidently only from habit, and not from any attachment of a thankful heart to Christ the Saviour. Evidently they have not prayed to God; they have not drawn near to Him with their heart, but only with their lips--if they have done so at all--and thus have not entered into the spirit of the festival; in general, they do not understand the nature and the object of Christian festivals, and do not participate in them as children participate in the family festivals of their parents. How wicked are the children of that loving, good, and holy Mother, the Church! The Mother is holy--the children are sinful; the Mother is spiritual--the children are carnal; the Mother is heavenly--the children are earthly; the Mother desires to give her children eternal, spiritual blessings, instead of corruptible and transitory ones; and the children reject them and choose for themselves earthly, sinful, passing pleasures. However, besides drunkards and men given over to various vices on festivals, we meet oftener still people who have not been to church (and do not even know that it is a festival, because they have never thought about it). For such people there is only one festival--the festival of the flesh. Ah! how long will it be before we priests rise up against all the disorders that take place on the Lord's festivals? Which of God's priests will have the zeal of Elias, Phinehas, Isaiah, or Jeremiah, in order to rise up in the power of the Holy Ghost against all these disorders on the Lord's festivals in the new Israel, in order to use all their powers, all their life for the glory of God--to uproot such laxity of morals amongst Christians? Lord! When shall we duly keep holy Thy festivals? When shall we comfort our holy Mother the Church by obedience to her ordinances? When shall we be imbued with her spirit? How long shall we begin the celebration of the great saving events of the Orthodox faith with the spirit and end them with the flesh? How long shall the enemy mock at the members 121 of Christ, which Christians are? How long shall men of other faiths and religions point at us and say: "Look, these are the Christians who call themselves Orthodox. Look how they live! What sort of faith can they have in their hearts? What knowledge of their religion can they have? What kind of priests must they have? How badly they must teach the people religion! How little can they explain to them the meaning of the festivals, their object, and the purpose for which they were instituted! How little can they teach them to live according to the faith! My God! What a reproach to our Orthodox faith and to us pastors! And yet, perhaps, is not what they say of us pastors just? It is a great deal our fault that Christians do not spend the festivals as they ought. We do not unmask them, do not forbid them; we do not implore them with all forbearance and instruction to spend the festivals, and in general to live in a more Christian-like manner. We do not speak strongly enough against idleness, drunkenness, profligacy; we do not thunder in God's Church, in God's words, against these vices, which have taken such a terrible hold of Christians. We do not always exclude from the Holy Cup, as an example to others, those persons who are known for their drunkenness and adultery, and we thus allow these contagious and abominable vices to spread further and further; or at confession we impose too light penances upon those who deserve the severe punishment of the Church, and we do not watch as we should the fulfilment of even those penances which we lay upon them. Then, Righteous God! neither the pastors nor the flock can justify themselves before Thee. "They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one." 271271Romans iii. 12. What will it come to at last with the existing disorder of our life? Iniquity spreads over the earth; the kingdom of the enemy grows wider. Thy Kingdom diminishes; there are but few of Thy chosen in whose hearts Thou resteth. Many are the slaves of the Devil, in whose hearts the destroyer from time immemorial dwells like a thief. What wilt Thou do unto us, Lord? The blood of Thy testament cries out from the earth, but the voice of Thy Gospel does not penetrate into the hearts of Christians. Thy commandments are neglected, the Church's ordinances are trampled under foot. What wilt Thou do unto us, O Lord? Lord! send zealous workers into Thy vineyard, who "seek not their own," 2722721 Corinthians xiii. 5. but who seek Thee, Christ. Give them the zeal of the prophets, the power and wisdom of the Apostles, so that they may day and night unwearyingly labour in the fields of the hearts of men.

It is said that we soon grow weary of praying. Wherefore? 122 Because we do not vividly represent to ourselves the Lord, Who is at our right hand.273273Psalm xvi. 8. Look upon Him unceasingly with the eyes of your heart, and then, even if you stand praying all night, you will not grow weary. What do I say--all night? You will be able to stand thus praying two and three nights without growing weary. Remember the Stylites. They stood for many years in a prayerful disposition of soul on pillars or columns, and mastered their flesh, which was the same as yours, and which was also inclined to slothfulness. And you feel oppressed by a few hours' public prayers, even by one hour's prayers.

"Charity thinketh no evil."2742741 Corinthians xiii. 5. To think evil is the work of the Devil: it is the Devil in the man who makes him think evil. Therefore, do not have any ill-feeling in your heart against your friend, and do not think evil, lest you become united to the Devil. "Overcome evil with good"275275Romans xii. 21.—that is, the evil which you see or suspect. Your spiritual wisdom and your exploit of Christian love consist in this.

"Our Father which art in heaven!" What an elevating, touching, soul-stirring spectacle it is when these words are pronounced from the depths of the soul, truthfully, with one heart and mouth, either by a numerous congregation in church, or in the family circle, or in an assembly of school children, or in a company of soldiers! What an elevating spectacle it is when one sees that these words are realised in the people's very lives, when all of them have a feeling of brotherly love towards each other, and live peaceably, the younger obeying the elder, the less wise the wiser, rendering each other their due, esteeming each other, "in honour preferring one another."276276Romans xii. 10. What a truly heavenly sight it is when, before sitting down to table, the numerous and various members of a family with one heart and mouth say: "Our Father," acknowledging the one Heavenly Father as the All-Holy King, desiring the fulfilment of His will alone upon earth, recognising Him alone as the Nourisher of all! What an elevating sight it is when the master of the household ascribes the blessings of food and drink, not to himself, but to God, esteeming His gifts as common to all; when he makes himself equal with all the others, as though he himself were being regaled, and not regaling others! But what a striking and comforting spectacle it would be if the whole earth, all peoples, "with one heart and mouth," were to exclaim: "Our Father which art in heaven! Hallowed be Thy name"—in us all! "Thy Kingdom come"—as it was 123 in the beginning, before the Fall. "Thy Will be done"—Thy merciful and perfect Will, as it is in heaven—eternally so on the earth, and may no self-will reign! "Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses," and so on. What would it be if all had such a mode of thought and desire! But some day this will be, for the time will come when all those living upon the earth shall be one fold and have one Shepherd.277277St. John x. 16.

The minds of the angels cannot grasp and cannot sufficiently marvel at the wisdom, mercy, and omnipotence which the Lord has manifested to us in His Incarnation from the Most Holy Virgin Mary. "All angelic nature wonders at this great act of Thine Incarnation, beholding the unapproachable God in approachable man."278278Acathistos Condakion ix. Glory to Thy mercy! Glory to Thy bountifulness! Glory to Thy wisdom! Glory to Thy power! Through His Incarnation the Lord has clearly taught us all the mysteries of faith, which were not known, or but little known, in the Old Testament. Through His Incarnation we, accursed sinners, have been deemed worthy of the Communion of His Most Pure Body and Blood, and are thus united to Him in the closest manner; we dwell in Him and He in us. Through His Incarnation the Most Holy Virgin has become our All-Powerful Intercessor and our protection from sins, disasters, and misfortunes, praying for us day and night, our Queen and Lady, Whose power no visible and invisible enemies can withstand, and our very Mother by grace, in accordance with the words of Christ on the Cross to His disciple St. John: "Behold thy Mother!"—and to Her: "Behold Thy son!"279279St. John xix. 26, 27.Glory to Thy bountifulness, Lord!

How we debase our God-like immortal soul by attaching ourselves to the perishable, tarnishable, fleeting glitter of gold and silver, and by averting our gaze from the higher eternal, all-rejoicing light, or by attaching ourselves to corruptible sweetness that soon passes away, and is harmful and weakening both to soul and body, and turning away our gaze from the eternal, spiritual sweetness; from the sweetness of the intuition of God, or to vain earthly glory, turning away our eyes from the glory of the higher heavenly calling: from the glory of God's children, the heirs of the eternal Kingdom of God. O, earthly vanity! O, attachment to worldly things! Look upwards, Christian!

The greatest good of this present and of the future life is God, eternally living, all-perfect, all-good. He who has 124 acquired this good, who has it in his soul, is the happiest of men. Everything else earthly, worldly, and regarded as good is vanity and emptiness. That which is around me or upon me does not constitute myself; even my flesh, with which I am clothed, and of which I consist, as a portion of my earthly being, does not constitute my real self.

What is signifed by the words: "whose praise is not of men, but of God"?280280Romans ii. 29. To whom is this praise due? To him who inwardly, in his heart, works for God, who does everything conscientiously, and does not care for the opinion of men or for human glory. But we seek the praise of men, and not that of God, Who is the God of glory. We seek earthly rewards, crosses and decorations, etc.

Why did the Holy Cross appear in the heavens to the Emperor Constantine? In order to show that our Lord Himself, also all the Apostles and all the army of martyrs, entered into glory through the Cross; that the Cross is invincible victory; that as the Devil was vanquished by means of the Cross, so likewise all the enemies of the Cross of Christ or of Christians will be vanquished by the Cross; also that the Devil acts through the persecutors of the Christians, and must be conquered by means of the Cross; and that the persecuted Christians are members of Christ, soldiers of Christ, who are always under the protection of Christ the Lord and His Cross.

" Behold, thou art made whole; sin no more."281281St. John v. 14. Experience proves that sins and passions destroy the health of the soul and the body, whilst victory over the passions affords heavenly tranquillity and health both to the soul and the body. Conquer the many-headed hydra of sin—and you will be made whole. Preserve tranquillity of spirit; do not be disturbed, do not be irritated by any opposition, offences, negligences, injustices—and then you will always enjoy spiritual and bodily health. Emotions, disturbance, and the fire of various passions produce in us a multitude of maladies both of mind and body.

In order to rule others, we must first learn to rule ourselves; in order to teach others, we must acquire knowledge ourselves. If I do not know how to control myself, if there is not in me the spirit of self-command, the spirit of meekness, holiness, love and righteousness, then I am a bad director. If I am the sport of every kind of passion, it is better for me not to undertake to rule others, so as not to do greater harm than good, both to myself and to them.

125

The Lord is life in my death, strength in my weakness, light in my darkness, joy in my sorrow, boldness in my faintheartedness, tranquillity in my agitation, obedience in my prayer, glory in my dishonour, and deliverance from my dishonour. Wonderfully, mightily, and quickly does He protect and save me in my misfortunes and distresses, and from the seductions of the passions. When I call upon Him to save me, the invisible enemies flee from me, after the evil they have wrought within me, and I sensibly recognise the saving right hand of my God, my Saviour, upon me. Glory and thanks to the Shepherd and Visitor of my soul!

When you stand praying, burdened with many sins and overpowered with despair, begin to pray with hope, with a fervent spirit, and remind yourself that "the Spirit Itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered!"282282Romans viii. 26. When you remember with faith this action of the Spirit of God within us, then tears of emotion will flow from your eyes, you will feel in your soul peace, sweetness, justification, "and enjoy in the Holy Ghost," 283283Romans xiv. 17. and you will cry in your heart, "Abba, Father!''

Gods omnipresence is in space and thought—that is, God is everywhere, both in respect to space and in respect to thought; wheresoever I may go, either in the body or in thought, everywhere I meet God, and everywhere God meets me.

When praying, we must believe in the power of the words of the prayer, in such a manner as not to separate the words from the deeds they express; we must believe that the deeds follow the words, as the shadow follows the body, for the word and the deed of the Lord are indivisible, "for He commanded and they were created."284284Psalm cxlviii. 5. And you must likewise believe that that which you say in the prayer, for which you have asked, will be done. You have praised God, and God has received your praise. You have thanked God, and God has received your thanks as a spiritual fragrance. It is our misfortune that we have little faith, and separate the word from the deed, as the body from the soul, as the form from the contents, as the shadow from the body—that during prayer, as in life, we are "sensual, having not the Spirit,"285285Jude i. 19. and therefore our prayers are fruitless.

"Mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually,"2862861 Kings Lc. 3. is said of the Temple; there, that is, chiefly in the hearts of those assisting and praying in the Temple, for the Most High does not dwell in temples made with hands. How comforting it is to read 126 these words of the wise King Solomon! The eyes of the Master in God's temple are turned upon each of us, His heart is turned to each of us! Is it possible to require greater nearness? The Master's very heart is turned to me. Sometimes you stand face to face with another man and converse with him, but his heart is not turned towards you, and is occupied with something else; whilst here God's heart is wholly turned to you, with all its love, all its mercy, and according to your faith. He is ready to pour all His bounties upon you.

When we call upon the Saints in prayer, if we pronounce their names from the heart, it already means that we bring them near our heart itself. Therefore ask their prayers and intercession undoubtingly for yourself. They will hear you, and will speedily lay your prayers before the Lord, in the twinkling of an eye, for He is omnipresent and omniscient. When the Oblation you call in prayer upon the Lord Jesus Christ, or upon His Most pure Mother and the Saints, or when you commemorate the living or the departed, then the portion taken from the Bread, that has been offered, represents, and as if replaces by itself the Lord, or His Most-pure Mother, or some particular Saint, or many Saints conjointly; also the living or the departed commemorated, while the name thought of represents and replaces by itself the soul of the being invoked or commemorated. Thus, in a small form, on our lips and in our hearts, the beings of the higher and lower worlds are reflected, and all this through faith, by the Holy Ghost, who alone is being everywhere and filling everything.287287The English reader who is unacquainted with the liturgies of the Orthodox Church can refer to the translations of Neale, Richardson, Robertson, and others.

When praying, I firmly believe (1) that God alone is and fills everything, and that He is therefore at my right hand; (2) that I am His image; (3) that He is an abyss of mercy, the Source of every mercy, and that He Himself has authorised me to pray to Him.

The Lord fills all creation, which before Him is "as a drop of the morning dew that falleth down upon the earth," as "a little grain of the balance,"288288Wisdom of Solomon xi. 22. keeping it down to the smallest blade of grass and grain of dust in His Right Hand, and not being limited either by the greatness or smallness of things created: exists in infinity, entirely filling it, as a vacuum; for He is the only Being which exists, and therefore calls Himself "I Am that I Am"289289Exodus iii. 14.--that is, I am that Which is.

127

However small matter may be, but as long as it only exists, the Lord, Who fills everything and upholds everything, must also exist; for how can it be possible that any matter should exist, and not the Lord, Who has created everything? It is absurd. Without Him not a single grain of dust can have its being if it is left to itself, if it is deprived of God's presence and omnipotence. "Without Him was not anything made that was made."290290St. John i. 3.

That our union with God in the future world will come to pass, and that it will be for us the source of light, peace, joy, and beatitude, this we partly recognise by experience even in the present life. During prayer, when our soul is wholly turned towards God, and is united to Him, we feel happy, calm, easy, and joyful, like children resting on their mother's breast; or, I would rather say, we experience a sensation of inexpressible well-being. "It is good for us to be here."291291St. Luke ix. 33. Therefore struggle unremittingly to obtain future everlasting bliss, the beginning of which you know by experience even in the present life; but bear in mind that these beginnings are only earthly, imperfect, which we see now only "in part, as through a glass darkly."2922921 Corinthians xiii. 12. How will it be with us then, when we shall indeed be most truly united to God, when the images and shadows shall pass away, and the kingdom of truth and vision will come! O! we must labour unceasingly all our life, until death, for future blessedness, for our future union with God.

You see how bright the sun and the stars are. "Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun"293293St. Matthew xiii. 43. from the inner immaterial light of God. Whenever the angels appear upon earth, they are almost always surrounded by light. Aspire to that enlightenment. Throw aside the works of darkness. We can raise our nature to communion with the Divine Nature; and God is the Light uncreated, surpassing every light that has been created.

Man! when I look upon you--upon your earthly feelings, upon your flesh--when I remember the day of your birth, and the days that followed of your childhood and growth, up till now, and when I afterwards transport my thoughts to the day of your death, and after that to the eternity, which is destined to you from the foundation of the world, then I do not know at what most to marvel--at your nothingness, or at the omnipotence and goodness of the Creator who has mercifully given you life, and will eventually clothe your corruptible and 128 mortal body with immortality. My wonderment increases when I see that the Lord God, the Eternal King, gives you His Own Flesh and Blood, to partake of "in the same manner as, in the days of His Flesh," "He also Himself likewise took part of our flesh and blood,"294294Hebrews v. 7; ii. 14. in order to give you eternal life.

The dead live. "God is not a God of the dead, but of the living; for all live unto Him."295295St. Luke xx. 38. The soul invisibly hovers round the body, and the places where it liked to dwell. If it died in sins, then it cannot help to free itself from their bonds, and is in great need of the prayers of the living, especially of those of the Church, the most holy Bride of Christ. Therefore let us pray earnestly for the dead. It is of great benefit to them; of more benefit than to the living.

When God looks mercifully upon earth-born creatures through the eyes of nature, through the eyes of bright, healthful weather, everyone feels bright and joyful. When there is a healthful breeze, there is wholesome air in all bodies and souls; but when a cold, damp, strong wind blows, then everyone feels oppressed in soul and body. Many earth-born creatures groan from maladies; many give themselves up to despondency and melancholy. So powerful and irresistible is the influence of nature upon mankind. And it is remarkable that those who are less bound by carnal desires and sweetnesses; who are less given up to gluttony; who are more moderate in eating and drinking, to them nature is more kindly disposed, and does not oppress them--at least, not nearly so much as those who are the slaves of their nature and their flesh. O! how clear it is that our life is in the Lord, and not in sensual things; how clear it is that the Lord is in everything "which worketh all in all."2962961 Corinthians xii. 6. In the air He is our breath; in food the satisfying of our hunger; in drink the quenching of our thirst; in clothing our raiment; in the dwelling our protection, warmth, and tranquillity; in sleep our rest; in pure, instructive, chaste, and edifying conversation our speech; in mutual love, our love. Lord, Master, our Creator and Benefactor, grant that we may always remember Thee at every moment of our life; that by Thee "we live and move and have our being;"297297Acts xvii. 28.. that we have life, breath, and everything from Thee. But let us also remember that if in all that has been enumerated we pervert God's laws, He becomes our grievous punishment. He will become our punishment even in the air, in food and drink; He will no 129 longer be the satisfying of our hunger and the quenching of our thirst, but either our aversion from them or a sickness, as happens when, it is said, that food does no good to some person; in clothing or in the dwelling, our weakness and distress of mind; in sleep not rest, but uneasiness and fear; in speech, constraint; in wrongful love, the fiery torments. The sources of punishment usually appear in our sinful inclinations themselves. "Wherewithal a man sinneth, by the same also shall he be punished."298298Wisdom xi. 16.

The truth and saving properties of our holy faith are clearly revealed by the fact that not a single Sacrament, not a single faithful prayer are left fruitless in us, but they bring and manifest their power from heaven upon our souls and bodies, cleansing our sins, and giving peace to our souls in accordance with the words of our Saviour: "Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest;" 299299St. Matthew xi. 28. and delivering us from spiritual afflictions and bodily sicknesses! No, we never pray in vain to the Lord, or to the most holy Virgin, or to the angels and saints, but we receive all that we ask them for, and that tends to our salvation. Powers of healing and multifarious help constantly come to us from heaven. Our Lord is a Lord of manifold powers manifested upon us, and our God is the God of mercy and salvation. In like manner the ever-Virgin Mother of the incarnate God-the-Word, imitating the love to mankind of her Son and God, prays for us, and continually manifests her powers to believers. Feeling the continual all-saving powers revealed to us by the Mother of God, we call upon her: "At no time will we unworthy ones be silent, God-bearing One, to tell of thy mighty acts; for hadst thou not prayerfully interceded for us, who would have delivered us out of so many dangers?" ...Or: " Show us thy power, as thou hast ever done. ..." And we turn to Her in every affliction, need, and misfortune. The same applies to the angels and saints; when we call upon them they hear us, and by the grace of God afford us help.

The carnal man does not understand the spiritual blessedness that proceeds from prayer and virtue, and cannot comprehend even in a small degree what the blessedness in the next world will be. He does not know anything higher than earthly carnal happiness, and considers future blessings as imaginary visions. But the spiritual man knows by experience the blessedness of the virtuous soul, and foretastes future blessedness in his heart.

130

The more a man leads the spiritual life, the more he becomes spiritualised: he begins to see God in everything; the manifestation of His power and might in everything; he sees himself always and everywhere abiding in God, and depending from God even in the smallest matters. But the more a man leads the carnal mode of life, the more carnal he becomes: he does not see God in anything, not even in the most wonderful manifestations of His divine powers--he sees flesh and matter in everything, and nowhere, nor at any time, is God before his eyes.300300Psalm xxxvi.

The Lord called Himself and is the "good Shepherd."301301St. John x. 11. If you believe in His guidance, then you will understand by your heart that as a zealous shepherd when feeding his flock does not allow the sheep to disperse, but gathers them together, so also the Lord pastures our souls, not allowing them to wander in falsehood and sins, but gathering them on the path of virtue, and not allowing the mental wolf to steal and scatter them.

As the Devil is incomplex in his being, and in an instant by a single thought can wholly attach himself to us and enter into our heart, therefore we must likewise repulse him in an instant by a single powerful word from our heart, containing all the force of truth as a complete antidote against the falsehood of the enemy. This is what the Lord signified when He said: "Be ye therefore wise as serpents;"302302St. Matthew x. 16. that is, as this spiritual serpent is rapid, sure, falling upon us with infernal wisdom and planning when it is easiest for him to attack and overthrow us; looking out which are our weakest sides and habits, and then for the greater part striking surely. But at the same time, the Lord said: " Be harmless as doves;" that is, simple and guileless. Borrow from the serpent his wisdom only, but let your heart remain simple, pure, and uncorrupt. Be meek and humble as I am; do not give yourself up to wrath and irritability, for "The wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God;"303303James i. 20. keep yourself pure from all filthiness of the flesh and the spirit.

Our soul, as a spiritual, active being, cannot remain idle; it either does good or evil, one of the two; either wheat grows in it or tares. But as every good comes from God, and as the means of obtaining every good from God is prayer, those who pray fervently, sincerely, from the depths of their hearts, obtain from the Lord grace to do good, and, before all, the grace of faith; whilst, those who do not pray, naturally remain without 131 these spiritual gifts, voluntarily depriving themselves of them by their own negligence and spiritual coldness; and as the wheat of good thoughts, inclinations, intentions, and works grows in the hearts of those who labour and pray fervently to the Lord, so in the hearts of those who do not pray, the tares of every evil grow, smothering the small amount of good that has remained in them from the grace of baptism, chrism, and subsequent penitence and communion. Therefore, we must most carefully look after the field of our heart, lest the tares of evil, slothfulness, luxuriousness, self-indulgence, unbelief, avarice, envy, hatred, and others, should grow within it; we must daily weed the field of our heart--at least, at morning and evening prayers, and refresh it by salutary sighs, as by healthful winds, and water it with abundant tears, as by early and late rain. Besides this, we must by every means implant in the field of our heart the seeds of the virtues, faith, hope in God, and love for God and our neighbour, fertilise it by prayer, patience, good works, and not for a single hour remain in complete idleness and inactivity, for in times of idleness and inactivity the enemy zealously sows his tares. "While men slept, the enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way."304304 St. Matthew xiii. 25. We must also remember that it is impossible to do good works without efforts. Since our voluntary falling into sin the kingdom of God cannot be taken otherwise than by "violence, and the violent take it by force."305305St. Matthew xi. 12. Why is it that only the narrow way and narrow gate lead to life? Who makes the way of the chosen narrow? The world oppresses the chosen, the devil oppresses them, the flesh oppresses them; it is these that make our way to the kingdom of heaven narrow.

The Lord has brought my soul and body from nonentity into existence--so almighty is He! How can I possibly not believe in His omnipotence? What can I consider impossible to Him, I who myself was brought from nonentity into existence? What has God higher and more precious in the world than me--man? Am I not, before all, the greatest miracle of His omnipotence? I am received by God himself, into union with Him, I who am a little lower than the angels; I who, being united to Him through faith and purity of life, can myself work the miracles of God's omnipotence, for instance: I raise the dead like Elias and the Apostles. If the spirits of angels and the souls of men are brought by Him from nonentity into existence, then what animate or inanimate body could He not create? Further, if God Himself has become human flesh and soul without ceasing to be God, if He has done that which would be impossible for 132 us to do, then, after this, what can be impossible to Him? What is more infinite than this wonder? Thus has our God indeed shown and shows His omnipotence.

If the bodiless angels can take upon themselves a body, not a visionary, but a real one, having received the capability of doing this from God, then with what ease can the Lord Himself create a body for Himself. It may even be said that the creative power is natural to every animate being, by the gift of God the Spirit, the Creator of everything. Shall not, therefore, the Lord Himself who has given such laws to nature, with instantaneous facility, at a single sign, transform at His will, any substance into a body? Do not all bodies consist of formless inanimate matter? What unbelieving person will, after this, doubt the possibility of the transformation, for instance, of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ, during the Divine liturgy? This is but an ordinary act of the God of wonders, after the fact of His having created flesh for Himself from the Holy Ghost and the Virgin Mary.

What can be firmer, more unchangeable and mightier than the word? By the word the world was created and exists; "upholding all things by the word of His power;"306306Hebrews i. 3. and yet we sinners treat words so lightly, so negligently. For what do we show less respect than for the word? What is more changeable in us than the word? O, how accursed are we men! How inattentive we are to such precious things! We do not remember that by means of the word proceeding from a believing and loving heart, we may perform life-giving miracles for our own souls and for the souls of others; for instance, in prayer at Divine service; in sermons, at the celebration of the Sacrament! Christian! value every word; be attentive to every word; be firm in the word; trust in every word of God, and of the saints, as in the words of life. Remember that the word is the beginning of life.

We must also have the deepest respect for the word, because in one single word dwells the omnipresent one indivisible Lord who fills everything. Therefore it is said: "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain,"307307 Exodus xx. 7. for in one name, the Lord Himself, is contained the invisible Being, the everlastingly worshipped Unity.

When the Lord strikes you with sore affliction or sickness, or misfortune, then be assured that He will also truly send you consolation, and will afterwards bestow upon you the 133 grace of peace, strength, and joy corresponding to your previous sufferings. For "the Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. He will not always chide, neither will He keep his anger for ever. He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities."308308Psalm ciii. 8-10.

Looking upon the Saviour's cross, contemplate Love, crucified upon it for our salvation; and think, for what blessedness He has saved us, and from what torments He has redeemed us! He has snatched us from the jaws of the beast and has brought us to the Father! O love! O redemption! O terrors of everlasting torments! O indescribable, endless blessedness!

In saying "our Father" we should believe and remember that the Heavenly Father never forgets, and never will forget us, for, even, what good earthly father forgets and does not care for his children? "Yet will I not forget thee," 309309Isaiah xlix. 15. says the Lord. "For your Heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things."310310 St. Matthew vi. 32. Take these words to your heart. Remember that the Heavenly Father continually surrounds you with love and care, and is not called your Father without reason. Father is not an empty name without meaning and power, but a name full of meaning and power.

When you are saying your prayers--and especially if you have a rule of prayer according to a book--do not hurry from one word to another without feeling its truth, without laying it to your heart, but always strive to feel with your heart the truth of that which you say. Your heart will oppose this--sometimes by slothfulness and stony insensibility to that which you are saying, sometimes by doubt and unbelief, by a kind of inward fire and oppression, sometimes by distraction and deviation of the mind to earthly objects and cares, sometimes by the remembrance of the offences of your neighbour, and by a feeling of revenge and hatred towards him, sometimes by the representation of worldly pleasures, or the representation of pleasure derived from reading novels and, in general, worldly books. Do not be self-loving; conquer your heart, and offer it to God as an acceptable sacrifice: "My son, give Me thine heart," 311311Proverbs xxiii. 26. and your prayer will unite you to God and all heaven, and you will be filled with the Spirit, and the fruits of the Spirit: righteousness, peace, joy, love, 134 meekness, long-suffering, and hearty compunction. You want to finish your rule of prayer quickly, in order to give rest to your weary body? Pray fervently, and you will sleep the most peaceful, quiet, and healthy sleep. Do not hurry, then, nor say your prayers anyhow; by half-an-hour's prayer you will gain three whole hours of the soundest sleep. Are you hurrying to get to the place of your service or your work? Get up earlier; do not sleep so long; and pray fervently--you will thus obtain tranquillity, energy, and success in your work for the whole day. Is your heart impatient to go to vain, worldly matters? Master it; let its treasure be not earthly vanity, but God; teach your ears to attach itself through prayer to God, and not to worldly vanity so that you may not be covered with shame in the day of sickness, and in the hour of death, like him who was rich in worldly vanity and poor in faith, hope, and love. If you do not pray as I have said, then you will neither prosper in life, nor in faith, nor in spiritual understanding.

The Lord Jesus Christ had not where to lay His head during His earthly life,312312St. Matthew viii. 20. yet He had in Himself His own life and the life of all,313313St. John iii. 36; v. 26; xi. 25; xiv. 6. whilst rich men build themselves magnificent palaces and live in them; but, alas, with such brilliant surroundings they have not true life in their hearts, they cannot even enjoy their vanity; they feel dull and oppressed in their beautiful palaces, so that many rich men and high dignitaries would willingly exchange their palaces for the poor man's cottage if they could only acquire his peace of heart.

In order to be perfectly pleasing to God, we must also for His sake be perfectly indifferent to our flesh; for instance, when, during prayer, notwithstanding our slothfulness and strong inclination to sleep, we force ourselves not to yield to it, then we are indifferent to our flesh. The martyrs and ascetics had this perfect indifference for their flesh.

At the end of your morning and evening prayers in your home, call upon the Saints: Patriarchs, Prophets, Apostles, Prelates, Martyrs, Confessors, Holy Fathers, the Ascetics, the Unmercenary, so that seeing in them the realisation of every virtue, you may yourself become the imitator of every virtue. Learn from the Patriarchs childlike faith and obedience to the Lord; from the Prophets and Apostles, the zeal for God's glory and for the salvation of the souls of men; from the Prelates, zeal to preach God's word, and in general to assist through the Scriptures, to the possible glorification of God's name, to the 135 strengthening of faith, hope, and love amongst Christians; from the Martyrs and Confessors, firmness for the faith and piety before unbelieving and godless people; from the Ascetics, to crucify your own flesh, with its passions and desires, to pray and think piously; and from the Unmercenary, not to love gain, and to give gratuitous help to the needy.

Do not neglect to uproot from the hearts of children the tares of sins, impure, evil, and blasphemous thoughts, sinful habits, inclinations, and passions; the enemy and the sinful flesh do not spare even children; the seeds of all sins are to be found in the children too; show them all the danger of sin on the path of life; do not hide sins from them lest through ignorance and want of comprehension they should be confirmed in sinful habits and attachments, which grow stronger and stronger and bring forth corresponding fruits when the children grow up.

The carnal man's entire life and occupations have a carnal tendency and carnal aim; his prayer is carnal, his learning and his teaching of others are carnal, his writings are carnal; at every step, in nearly every word, the carnal life appears. The carnal life manifests itself especially in everything relating to the man's appetites: here is the very seat of the carnal man. In proportion as the man by God's grace lays aside the carnal life, he begins to trample his carnal appetites under foot--he alters his food, ceases to live for insatiable appetite; gradually in his heart, faith, hope, and love begin to reign. Instead of eating, drinking, dress, riches, God, the soul, eternal life, eternal torment, occupy his thoughts and imagination. Instead of the love of money, of food, drink, dress, the luxury of his house and surroundings, love for God, for men, a longing to dwell with the Angels and Saints; instead of food and drink, hunger and thirst, and the diligent reading and listening to the Word of God and Divine service. Previously his enemies were those who hindered his outward well-being, now he bears privations with equanimity; previously he slept much and found pleasure in sleep, now he sleeps little and intentionally deprives himself of sweet sleep; previously he gratified the flesh in every way, now he mortifies it so that it may not rebel against the spirit.

When you see that anyone, through the efforts of the Devil, is wholly possessed with one single vain, earthly subject (idee fixe), deeply grieves about it, constantly speaks of it, and thereby vexes you, do not become irritated about it, but be firmly assured that it is a spiritual malady coming from the 136 enemy; be gentle and kind to the sick man, and immediately turn with calm, serene faith to God in. prayer, and say the following to the holy Icon not made with human hands: "To Thy most pure Icon we bow down, O Good One, praying for forgiveness of our sins, Christ our God; for of Thine own will Thou didst condescend to ascend the Cross in flesh, and thereby to deliver Thy creatures from the yoke of the enemy. Therefore, we thankfully cry unto Thee: Thou, Our Saviour, hast filled all things with joy, Thou Who earnest to save the world." 314314The Vera Icon, which, according to Greek tradition, Jesus sent with an autograph letter, to Abgarus of Edessa.

Consider thyself also: the enemy sometimes tempts your patience too; his triumph is double if he succeeds in irritating you too: understand his wiles, and mock at them. When he exerts his violence against a person who is especially near to your heart, then your heart aches to hear his foolish words expressing the attachment of his heart to earthly things. Do not be depressed, do not despair, do not grieve, do not give way to anger, "considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted." 315315Galatians vi. 1. Call upon the Saviour: "Saviour, save us!" Do not be false to Him in any spiritual affliction, nor in any violence of the Devil and the passions. Remember that He Himself said: " Call upon Me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify Me."316316Psalm 1. 15. The infinite power of the Lord is ever ready to come to our help; it is pleasing to the Lord of power and mercy to manifest His saving power in us, and to save us from our visible and invisible enemies. The more trivial the cause of the sorrow of the man's soul is, the more pitiable and deserving of compassion he is, for then we clearly see that the cause of it is--the Devil.

It is never so difficult to say from the heart, "Thy Will be done, Father," as when we are in sore affliction or grievous sickness, and especially when we are subjected to the injustice of men, or the assaults and wiles of the enemy. It is also difficult to say from the heart "Thy Will be done" when we ourselves were the cause of some misfortune, for then we think that it is not God's Will, but our own will, that has placed us in such a position, although nothing can happen without the Will of God. In general, it is difficult to sincerely believe that it is the Will of God that we should suffer, when the heart knows both by faith and experience that God is our blessedness; and therefore it is difficult to say in misfortune, "Thy Will be done." We think, "Is it possible that this is the 137 Will of God? Why does God torment us? Why are others quiet and happy? What have we done? Will there be an end to our torments? " And so on. But when it is difficult for our corrupt nature to acknowledge the Will of God over us, that Will of God without which nothing happens, and to humbly submit to it, then is the very time for us to humbly submit to this Will, and to offer to the Lord our most precious sacrifice--that is, heartfelt devotion to Him, not only in the time of ease and happiness, but also in suffering and misfortune; it is then that we must submit our vain erring wisdom to the perfect Wisdom of God, for our thoughts are as far from the thoughts of God "as the heavens are higher than the earth."317317Isaiah lv. 8, 9.

Let every man bring in sacrifice to God his Isaac, his only begotten, his beloved, his promised one (to whom peace and blessedness, not sufferings, are promised), and let him show God his faith and his obedience, so as to be worthy of God's gifts, which he already enjoys, or which he expects to enjoy.

In order to rightly understand the words of the Lord's prayer, "Lead us not into temptation," we must remember that this prayer was given to the Apostles, who asked the Lord to teach them how to pray; that it was given to them before the descent of the Holy Ghost upon them, when Satan asked them of the Lord, that he might sift them as wheat.318318St. Luke xxii. 31.At that time the Apostles were still weak, and might have fallen under temptation (like Peter); this is why the Saviour puts in their mouths the words, " Lead us not into temptation." But it is impossible to live without temptations of our faith, hope, and love: it is indispensable for the man himself that the secrets of his heart should be tested, so that he may himself see what he is and amend himself. Yes, temptations are necessary in order "that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed,"319319St. Luke ii. 35. that our firmness or weakness in faith may be revealed, as well as the knowledge or ignorance, the depravity or purity of our heart, its hope and trust in God or in earthly things; also whether we love ourselves and corruptible things, or God above all.

When I call to mind the Son of God, Who received human nature into union with His Godhead, and also the lives those live who call themselves Christians, then I am seized with fear and pity: fear because I anticipate the great wrath of God upon the careless, ungrateful, and evil-natured; pity because I see a great multitude of Christians voluntarily 138 depriving themselves of the indescribable bliss of the future life, and casting themselves into eternal fire--into eternal torments.

Render all honour to every man, especially to the Christian, because of the fact that God deigned to receive human nature into the closest union with His Divinity, so that He became God-man. Therefore, looking upon any man, think, "The Lord Himself was in every respect similar to this man, excepting sin;" and if you know, or see, that he does not know this truth of the incarnation of the Son of God, and is leading an unworthy life, then teach and guide him. Also love every man as you love yourself, because he is another you, and is therefore called your neighbour in God's commandments: "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour."

The carnal man considers the Christian's freedom as slavery; for instance, attending Divine service, fasting, preparation for the Sacrament, confession, communion, all the Sacraments, and does not know that all this is a requirement of his nature, a necessity for his spirit.

A proud man, at the time when other people are speaking of any other person's virtues, is wickedly afraid lest this person should be superior to him in virtues, and should eclipse him, for the proud man considers himself above all, and does not think it possible to find similar or higher virtues in others. The rivalry of others is a great misfortune to him.

When you are saying a prayer for all men, and not praying from your heart for all men, then your soul is oppressed, for God does not favour such prayer; but as soon as you begin to pray for all men from your heart, then you will immediately feel relieved, for the Lord listens mercifully to such prayers.

The Devil often seizes hold of our heart with his teeth. With what teeth? Incredulity, doubt, oppression, and every passion. Sometimes the enemy troubles us by the suspicion of the fidelity of our servants in relation to our property and this especially happens when our hearts should be occupied exclusively with thoughts of God and the contemplation of heavenly things. In order to deliver yourself from such anxieties and afflictions, which proceed from the Devil, remember the words of the Holy Scripture: "The Lord is at 139 hand. Be careful for nothing."320320Philippians iv. 5, 6. Do not be uselessly anxious. The Lord takes care of your property; you are not at home, but He is there for you, for He is everywhere present and fills all things: He speaks in the conscience of your servants and the members of your household. He tries the thoughts of their hearts at every time and every hour; He says to them inwardly, " Thou shalt not steal;" and He disturbs their hearts by fear and apprehension when they conceive the sinful intention of stealing anything. He will manifest His miraculous power over them, and will not allow them to steal. But besides this, you must learn to regard all earthly things as dross, and disdain them.

The Word is our Creator and our God. Every word of His is truth and deed. Such also should our own word be, for we are created after the image of God; likewise the word of all speaking creatures should be truth and deed (such was the word of good tidings of the Archangel to Zacharias, to the Virgin Mary); and thus it is also with the angels and Saints; but in the Devil, who fell away from God, only a shadow of thought remains, and his word is without truth, without the reality of the deed—a lie, a phantom; and as a truthful word, being an image of the God the Word, and being derived from Him, is life, so the lying word of the Devil, being his image, is death. Falsehood is necessarily death, for the death of the soul is naturally caused by that which has itself fallen from life into death.

One cannot eat and drink and smoke continually. One cannot turn human life into constant eating, drinking, and smoking (although there are men who do eat, drink, and smoke almost uninterruptedly); and thus the spirit of evil has turned life into smoking, and made the mouth, which ought to be employed in thanking and praising the Lord, into a smoking furnace. The less and lighter the food and drink you take, the lighter and more refined your spirit will become.

O ye of little faith! do not doubt in Mine omnipotence. I have created every soul and all flesh, and I am the God of spirits and of all flesh. "For the spirit shall come forth from Me, and every breath which I have created."321321Isaiah lvii. 16."I have made the earth, and created man upon it; I, even My hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded."322322Isaiah xlv. 12. This is the exact translation of the Slavonic version. The English is as follows: "For the spirit should fail before Me, and the souls which I have made."

140

" Thou shalt do no murder." Amongst others, doctors murder by their ignorance of the sick man's illness when they prescribe him injurious medicines. Those also commit murder who will not have a doctor to attend them or another person who is ill and requires the doctor's help. Those commit murder who irritate a sick man to whom any irritation may be fatal—for instance, a consumptive person—and thus hasten his death. Those commit murder who, through avarice or any other bad reason, delay in affording the doctor's help to a sick person, or in giving bread to the hungry.

One meets with distorted hearts in some men. At the celebration of the sacraments they breathe unbelief and insensibility, moral impotency or mockery, disturbance, and diabolical fear! During the illness of those near to them one is also struck by their insensibility and even diabolical malignancy. They consider their sick brother as superfluous in the world, and inwardly think "There will be more room for me if he dies," not reflecting that every man—and they themselves—may perhaps die to-morrow, and not pitying the sufferer in their hearts as their own member.

An irritable and foolish man adapting any object to any particular use, and not being capable of assisting the matter by the sagacity of his mind, and seeing that the object does not serve him as he would wish it to, often grows angry, loses his temper, throws aside and sometimes breaks this object, as though it were an animate, intelligent being intentionally resisting his wishes. It may happen that something falls down; it catches in something else, which tears; the object does not move in the manner he desired; it does not fit into its right place; everything seems to take up arms against him, and he is ready to weep from vexation. But had a master-hand taken up the matter, then everything would have gone right. Why so? Because then a man possessing intelligence, judgment, and sagacity would have set to the work with all his soul. To what does the observation of our ordinary worldly behaviour with different objects lead me? To what thoughts? I see that the intellect, or the intelligent human spirit, reigns everywhere over matter, and that without the intellect nothing can be done by itself—for instance, not even normal motion. Equally, without the intellect, nothing can adapt itself to any particular purpose, or attain any particular purpose, for every purpose is attained by means of certain determined laws, and the laws proceed from the intellect. Now turn to the universe. From whence comes this wonderful order in soulless matter and in unintelligent animals? From whence this beauty, this miraculous transformation of formless and 141 lifeless matter into beautiful living things? From whence this adaptation to thousands of different purposes and such wise attainment, by simple means, of their purposes by things which of themselves cannot have any known purpose nor attain it? "Who is this invisible Sovereign over matter? Who is this Mind, revealing His most wonderful wisdom in matter and in various animate creatures? Who is this eternal Artist and Architect invisibly producing His art before our eyes? He Who alone is the Creator of all--the Lord! I contemplate Thee with the eyes of my heart in every minute particle of space; Thou until now with Thy Son and Thy Holy Spirit invisibly workest all things. I embrace Thee, present in every place, with my heart; I worship Thee, glorify Thee, and praise Thee!

Those who give bread or money to the hungry regretfully, with an evil eye and dissatisfied heart, act in the same manner as if they were putting poison into their bread or their alms, though this poison is a spiritual, invisible one. We must give lovingly, with a respect for the person of our neighbour, willingly, gladly; for it is natural that love should rejoice when affording help to the beloved.

God preserve you from grudging the sacrifice of your material possessions to the Lord Himself, to His Most-pure Mother, or to any other of God's Saints, thus preferring matter to the spirit. Beware lest your property lead to your destruction. You ought to firmly believe that instead of corruptible blessings, the Lord or His Saints will bestow incorruptible ones upon you; instead of temporal blessings, eternal ones; for instance: spiritual light, the forgiveness of sins, the gifts of living faith, of firm hope and love unfeigned, of peace and joy in the Holy Ghost--which are infinitely above any material gifts. Lavish joyfully your possessions in sacrifice to the Lord and His Saints. If you send money for this purpose through anyone else's hands, be sure that it will reach its destination; and if people embezzle your sacrifice to the Lord, then the Lord your God will call such people to account, and not a single mite will be lost, but it will bring you a gift--proportionate to your faith and heart's disposition--from the Lord, who is the God of all gifts, especially to those who offer Him their heart's sacrifices.

God's Saints are represented in their inward actions as listening to the inward Guest, Who works within them--the Lord--venerating Him, smiling from inward sweetness and tenderness, and enjoying heavenly rest. "Ye are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls."3233231 Peter ii. 25.

142

God created matter in order that it should change and be transformed in innumerable ways in accordance with the Creator's thought. The purpose of matter is to manifest diversely to creatures and in creatures His Omnipotence and mercy, that He may act beneficially through it upon animate creatures, and especially upon those who are reasonable and clothed with flesh.

Worthless is the charity of the man who bestows it unwillingly, because material charity is not his, but God's gift, whilst only the disposition of the heart belongs to him. This is why many charities prove almost worthless, for they were bestowed unwillingly, grudgingly, without respect for the person of our neighbour. So also the hospitality of many persons proves worthless because of their hypocritical vain-glorious behaviour to their guests. Let us offer our sacrifices upon the altar of love to our neighbour, with heart-felt affection: "for God loveth a cheerful giver." 3243242 Corinthians ix. 7.

The enemy acts destructively upon men's hearts, amongst other ways, through outward nature, as upon Job--by means of winds, water, and fire. Houses are sometimes burnt down through the wiles of the enemy; houses are submerged and vessels sunk; winds blow down and destroy buildings; or else in wet weather, through damp and gases, the enemy uses his craft upon our inward parts, oppressing us with heaviness, and striking us with an apathetic coldness to everything true and holy. O, how many and diverse are the wiles of the prince of the powers of the air, and how difficult it is sometimes to distinguish them!

The corrupted man continually wishes to eat and drink, to continually satisfy his sight, hearing, smell, and feeling; carnal men satisfy themselves with dainty food and drink, fine sights, music, smoking, magnificent edifices, and outward splendour. But the adornment of holy objects raises our souls to God, and is therefore not only sinless, but holy and edifying, as also sacred singing, the fragrance of incense, the magnificence and splendour of the ornaments of the temple and all its vessels. All these, being destined to serve to the glory of God and to arouse pious feelings, are not sinful, but holy. But there, in the world, everything ministers to the carnal, corrupted man, and estranges from God. The corrupt heart seeks impure carnal sensations, and everything there satisfies it. The corrupt mind seeks knowledge corresponding to its corruption, and is there satisfied. The corrupt imagination and memory also seek images corre- 143 sponding to them, and are there satisfied. But we Christians are "new creatures,"3253252 Corinthians v. 17. or " a chosen generation,"3263261 Peter ii. 9. a new people, "created in righteousness and true holiness"327327Ephesians iv. 24. after God. We must divest ourselves of the old man and his works, and must fight against his desires and lusts.

When you are reading a long form of prayer aloud in the presence of a large concourse of people, then the enemy tries to disconcert your heart and to quench the words on your lips by the thought, that the people do not understand many words, and that it is a useless waste of time to read such prayers. This is evidently foolishness. For what of the Holy Ghost, the Instructor in all truth? Does He remain inactive, does He not enlighten all human hearts ? Have you not yourself experienced the enlightenment of your heart by the Holy Ghost ? Formerly you did not understand some of the words and expressions, and then suddenly the Holy Ghost opened your mind so that you might understand these hitherto incomprehensible words and expressions, and such a light suddenly enlightens your heart; be assured that the same also happens with others. Read with a steadfast heart, without any hurtful suspiciousness. Sow the seed—God will give the growth.

Many and various are the obstacles upon the narrow way: you wish to pray—the enemy oppresses you both spiritually and physically; you feel it your duty to write a sermon; you are oppressed by slothfulness; oppression is everywhere. The smoke of hell endeavours to darken and straiten your soul even when the Most Holy and terrible Sacrifice lies before you, when you communicate of It, and also at the time of the celebration of all the sacraments. The greater the Holy Office, the more violently and furiously the enemy attacks you.

God is goodness, He is like inexhaustible chrism; the spiritual world is the development of this goodness, like an ocean of fragrant chrism, the material world also. How can we not hope to obtain all good things from such goodness? The Lord in His goodness has diffused Himself into all creatures, like chrism, without having in any wise exhausted Himself.

At the approach of the great festivals you must be especially watchful over yourself. The enemy endeavours beforehand to chill the heart towards the subject of the event celebrated, so that the Christian should not honour it by the heartfelt consideration of its reality. He acts upon us either through the atmosphere, or through the food and drink we have taken, or through his 144 fiery arrows, plentifully darted at the heart and violently inflaming the entire man, at which time evil, impure and blasphemous thoughts occur to us, and we feel a hearty aversion to the subject of the solemnity. We must overcome the enemy by forcing ourselves to devout meditation and prayer.

When during prayer the enemy suggests within you a craving for food, despise this material, nervous irritation, strengthen your heart more powerfully by prayer, inflame it by faith and love, and say to the tempter the following words of the Lord: "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God."328328St. Matthew iv. 4. Prayer is my best food, fortifying and enlightening both the soul and the body.

Sometimes the enemy acts through evilly-disposed persons; through proud ones—by humiliation and contempt; through fanatics—by unbelief, free-thought, and scoffing at sacred things; through cruel masters—by tyranny and torments; through gluttons—by the allurement of dainties, of over-eating and drunkenness (to which, however, our flesh inclines); through the profligate—by the inclination to depravity or loss of chastity; through thieves—by the theft of our property; he afflicts us also through those that hate and envy us, he deprives us of food, clothes, and dwellings through hard-hearted people; through all and everything earthly, by God's permission, he, as " the prince of this world," 329329St. John xvi. 11. as prince of the powers of the air, as " the ruler of the darkness of this world,"330330 Ephesians vi. 12. acts upon mankind to exasperate them and attract them to his side, making use of various seductions and oppression for this purpose. If the All-wise, All-merciful and Almighty Heavenly Father did not watch unwearyingly over us and turn to good the innumerable wiles of the tempter, if we ourselves were not watchful, the bodiless evil-doer would have long ago subdued the world to himself, and on the earth no holy seed would have remained which constitutes the substance thereof.331331Isaiah vi. 13.

When a man is about to pray, he must humble his proud heart, must cast away earthly vanity from it, and must bring into it living and undoubting faith.

If the carnal man is at ease and happy, the spiritual one feels oppressed; if the outward man flourishes, the inward one perishes. So opposite in us are the old, sinful, carnal man and the man renewed by Christ's grace; this is why the Apostle said, "Though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day."3323322 Corinthians iv. 16. And we often experience this ourselves. Therefore the 145 true Christian ought to long for outward, carnal, worldly sufferings, for they strengthen his spirit. He must not even think of murmuring. How can he murmur at that which is profitable to his immortal soul, although the means by which this is attained are very repugnant to his carnal man? Illnesses, fires, robbery, poverty, misfortunes, wars, famine, often act beneficially upon the soul.

As God is Life, and diseases and maladies are a deviation from life, therefore the touch alone of the first Source of Life cures us of them. This is why the Saviour, Who is the Life of all, cured and still cures men by His touch alone. The same may be said of the change in any contagious objects—at a single sign or single word of the Creator and Founder of everything, they become harmless (air, water, plants and animals).

Fresh temptation sometimes arises with affliction and oppression—a hardness, numbness, and insensibility of the heart to everything true, good, and holy; we feel like a stone or a block, without faith, without the capability of praying, without hope in God's mercy, without love. How sad it is to feel like a stone or a log, without faith and love, when we were created to believe, feel, hope, and love! And we must bear this patiently, and pray to God to roll away the stone of insensibility from the doors of the tomb of our heart, that He may take away from us a heart of stone and give us one of flesh. But what does this hardness or numbness in us signify? It shows the presence in our heart of the Devil, who, having forcibly taken possession of our heart through our incredulity, thrusts out from it every good thought, not allowing it to rest there, and destroys all faith and every good feeling, making the man a burden even to himself. This really does happen to men. Let them learn what it signifies.

Our various earthly service to our king and country is an image to our principal service to our King of Heaven, which must continue eternally. It is Him that we must truly serve before all, as His faithful servants through creation, redemption and His providence. Do the servants of the earthly country think of this? But we must think of it. Earthly service is a test, a preparatory service for the heavenly one: "Thou hast been faithful over a few things: I will make thee ruler over many things."333333St. Matthew xxv. 21.

Do not be unsparing judges of those who labour unto God and who fall in life, into contradiction to themselves—that is 146 to their piety; they are placed in contradiction to themselves by the Devil, their wicked adversary: he catches at their heart with his teeth, forcing them to do contrary things.

Do not only do your work when you wish to, but do it especially then, when you do not wish to. Understand that this applies to every ordinary worldly matter, as likewise, and especially, to the work of the salvation of your soul—to prayer, to reading God's word and other salutary books, to attending Divine service, to doing good works, whatever they may be, to preaching God's word. Do not obey the slothful, deceitful, and most sinful flesh; it is eternally ready to rest and lead us into everlasting destruction through temporal tranquillity and enjoyment. "In the sweat of thy face," it is said, " shalt thou eat bread."334334Genesis iii. 19. O miserable soul, " carefully cultivate the talent granted unto thee," sings the Church.335335Condakiou at Matins on Holy Tuesday. "The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force,"336336St. Matthew xi.12. says our Lord and Saviour.

When your heart is disturbed in spirit by any passion, and you are deprived of peace, and are filled with agitation, and words of displeasure and animosity to your neighbour fall from your tongue, do not linger in this condition, so destructive to you, but immediately bend your knees and confess your sin before the Holy Ghost, saying from the depths of your heart: "I have offended Thee, Holy Ghost, by the spirit of my passion, by the spirit of evil and disobedience to Thee;" and afterwards say, from your whole heart and with the feeling of the omnipresence of the Spirit of God, the prayer to the Holy Ghost: " O Heavenly King, the Comforter, Spirit of Truth, Who art everywhere present and fillest all things, Treasury of blessings and Giver of life, come and make Thine abode in me and cleanse me from all impurity, and save, O Blessed One, my passionate and sensual soul"—and your heart will be filled with humility, peace, and devotion. Remember, that by every sin, by every attachment to anything earthly, by every displeasure and animosity towards your neighbour, by anything carnal, you offend the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of peace and love, the Spirit Who draws us from the earthly to heavenly things, from the visible to the invisible, from the corruptible to the incorruptible, from the temporal to the eternal, from sin to holiness, from vice to virtue. O All Holy Spirit, our Ruler, our Instructor, our Comforter! keep us through Thy power. Holiness of the Father, Spirit of our Heavenly father, implant in us, nurture in us, the Spirit of the Father, so that we may be His true children in Jesus Christ our Lord.

147

When you are praying, watch over yourself so that not only your outward man prays, but your inward one also. Though you be sinful beyond measure, still pray. Do not heed the Devil's provocation, craftiness, and despair, but overcome and conquer his wiles. Remember the abyss of the Saviour's mercy and love to mankind. The Devil will represent the Lord's face to you as terrible and unmerciful, rejecting your prayer and repentance; but remember the Saviour's own words, full of every hope and boldness for us: "Him that cometh to Me, I will in no wise cast out;"337337St. John vi. 37. and "Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden"--with sins and iniquities, and the wiles and calumnies of the Devil--"and I will give you rest."338338St. Matthew xi. 28.

Man! the Creator's omnipotence, wisdom, and mercy, which were poured out upon the visible and invisible world, are ready to be bestowed, in all their infinity, upon you also, if you endeavour to be a true child of the Heavenly Father, if you fulfil His commandments to love God and your neighbour. Give yourself up, then, untiringly, and with all your might, to good works and deeds.

Every person that does any evil, that gratifies any passion, is sufficiently punished by the evil he has committed, by the passion he serves, but chiefly by the fact that he withdraws himself from God, and God withdraws Himself from him: it would therefore be insane and most inhuman to nourish anger against such a man; it would be the same as to drown a sinking man, or to push into the fire a person who is already being devoured by the flame. To such a man, as to one in danger of perishing, we must show double love, and pray fervently to God for him; not judging him, not rejoicing at his misfortune.

Sin, instead of any arguments which it has not on its side, acts of violence, by wounding, by stinging us inwardly, by pouring into us the burning poison of sin. Blessed is he who despises all earthly things, and who is wounded by the love of God, by heavenly love. But how few such men there are amongst the fallen sons of Adam! Who is not wounded and struck by the shafts of the passions, of gain and honours? And, vice versa, in whom are there the shafts of true love for God and his neighbour? The shafts of the passions and of sensual things have driven out the shafts of God's love, and do not leave room for them. For some persons these two elements are daily fighting against each other, and alternately thrust out each other, whilst in others there is not even a 148 struggle; the earthly shafts reign wholly in some, stifling the heavenly ones: such, for instance, is the case with those who are greedy of gain, who are sensual, greedy of honours, drunkards, deceivers, murderers, fornicators, adulterers, etc. O, when will our hearts be wholly inflamed with love for the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, for the Life-giving God the Trinity, Who has commanded us to keep His commandments?

Why do we trouble and torment ourselves at not receiving some treasure which we had expected, or at losing it? Because that which we expected or which we have lost was the idol of our heart, because our heart has withdrawn itself from the Lord, the Source of living waters, Who Alone can fill and give peace to it. Let us cling to God with our whole heart, and no earthly loss, no non-fulfilment of the expectation of any earthly good--such as, for instance, money, marks of distinction, and others, which are outward and perishable things--will grieve us. Let us learn to live an inward life. Let us turn our thoughts to the highest blessings, to the heavenly recompense which is alone desirable, true, and makes those who obtain it truly happy.

We are generally delighted at fine, bright, warm weather, and like to talk about it; but in the heavenly abodes of the angels and saints the brightness, healthfulness, and freshness are incomparably greater. Why, then, do we not care to speak of the inmates of those dwellings, of that life, of that brightness, of that blessedness? Joyful, life-giving, and bright is the sun, but the light of God's countenance, which the angels and the souls of the righteous rejoice in, is still more joyful, life-giving, and bright. "Make us to be numbered with Thy saints in glory everlasting. O Lord, save Thy people and bless Thine heritage: govern them, and lift them up for ever."339339From the Te Deum Laudamus

Fervent, tearful prayer not only cleanses from sins, but also cures bodily infirmities and maladies; it renews the whole of a man's being, and makes him, so to say, born again (I speak from experience). O what a priceless gift prayer is! Glory to Thee, the Only-Begotten Son of God, Who hast obtained for us through Thy mediation the endless pardon of our sins! Glory to the All-Holy Spirit, Who "maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered"340340Romans viii. 26.--who gives us ardent prayer with groanings and tears, Who warms our cold souls and gives contrition and sorrow for 149 sins, cleansing, sanctifying, pacifying, strengthening, and renewing us! Glory to Thee, Holy Trinity, Which has no beginning, Life-giving, eternally glorified by all reasonable creatures!

It is impossible to bestow more upon you than God has bestowed upon you, for He has given you Himself, or His flesh and blood, united with His Godhead; He has made you His child, 341341Romans viii. 16. when you were the child of wrath 342342Ephesians ii. 3. and accursed; He has given you everything necessary, and outward blessings in abundance, and if He has not given you more outward blessings it is because they would have been harmful for you, for your soul and body. If, even now. you are often much harmed by these outward blessings, by attaching yourself to them, and suffer misfortunes and injuries from the passions, by falling away from the love of God and your neighbour and the aspiration for higher things and descending to the lower ones, then what would it have been if you had still more of these blessings? You would have sunk into sensuality.

Through the prayer of faith we can obtain from the All-merciful and All-bestowing God all spiritual and indispensable earthly blessings besides, if only the prayer is fervent and the desire to obtain these blessings sincere. And what prayers the Church puts into our mouths! Such, that by means of them we can easily incline the Lord to be merciful to us and to bestow upon us every good gift. The enemy, knowing God's goodness and the power of prayer, endeavours by every means to deter us from it, or during the prayer tries to distract our minds, to hinder us by various passions and attachments to earthly things, or by hurry, disturbance, etc.

When the heart is occupied with worldly things, especially superfluous ones, it forsakes the Lord--the Source of life and peace--and is therefore deprived of life and tranquillity, of light and strength; but when it repents of its care for vain things, and wholly turns from corruptible things to the incorruptible God, then the fountain of living water again begins to flow into it, and peace, tranquillity, light, strength, and boldness before God and man once more dwell within it. We must live wisely.

You do not want to pray for the man whom you hate and despise; but you must do so against your wish, and have recourse to the great Physician, because you yourself are spiritually sick of the malady of malice and pride; your enemy or the one whom you despise is also sick; pray that the meek Lord may teach you meekness and patience, that He may teach 150 and strengthen you to love your enemies, and not only your well-wishers; that He may teach you to pray sincerely for the evilly-disposed as well as for the well-disposed.

Someone, when, during prayer, he became languid and feeble in mind and body, and longed to sleep, roused himself by the following inward question: With Whom art thou conversing, my soul? And after this, by vividly representing the Lord before him, he began to pray with great feeling and tears; his blunted attention was sharpened, his mind and heart were enlightened, and he himself wholly revived. This shows what it is to represent the Lord God vividly to ourselves, and to walk in His presence! If--he went on to say--my soul, thou darest not converse languidly and carelessly with men above thyself in station, in order not to offend them, then how darest thou converse languidly and carelessly with the Lord?

Lord, how shall I glorify Thee? How shall I praise Thee for Thy power, for the miracles of healing by means of Thy Holy Mysteries, manifested upon me and many of Thy servants, to whom I, an unworthy one, have administered these Thy holy, heavenly, life-giving Mysteries after the sacrament of penitence. They confess before me Thy power, Thy goodness, loudly proclaiming to all that Thou hast stretched out Thy wonderworking hand over them and raised them up from the bed of sickness, from their death-bed, when no one expected that they would live; and then, after the communion of Thy life-giving Body and Blood, they soon revived, were healed, and felt upon them at the very same hour and day Thy life-giving Hand. And I, Lord, the witness of Thy deeds, have not hitherto praised Thee in the hearing of all for the strengthening of the faith of Thy servants, and even do not know how and when to praise Thee, for every day I am occupied with some kind of work. Create Thyself a name, Lord, as Thou hast done; glorify Thyself, Thy name, Thy Mysteries.

Deny yourself sensual delights in the hope that, instead of them, you will obtain higher spiritual, heavenly delights. Do good to all in the hope that, in accordance with God's justice, "with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again";343343St. Matthew vii. 2. that the good you have done to your neighbour shall be sooner or later returned into your bosom, just as the evil you have done him shall sooner or later be returned into your bosom. Remember that we are one body. "We being many are one bread."3443441 Corinthians x. 17.Remember that God is just to the highest degree, to an iota.

151

Where would there be opportunities for struggling for great deeds if we were not occasioned injury by our neighbours, if they did not offend us? Where would there be opportunities for patiently bearing offences, for meekness and humility? You see, then, that we must be tried by many and various evils in order to prove our virtue and be eventually crowned.

Do not be irritated either with those who sin or those who offend; do not have a passion for noticing every sin in your neighbour, and for judging him, as we are in the habit of doing. Everyone shall give an answer to God for himself. Everyone has a conscience; everyone hears God's Word, and knows God's Will either from books or from conversation with other people. Especially do not look with evil intention upon the sins of your elders, which do not regard you; "to his own master he standeth or falleth."345345Romans xiv. 4. Correct your own sins, amend your own heart.

Why does the Lord allow there to be poor? For your good, so that you may be cleansed from your sins and expiate them, "for alms doth deliver from death, and shall purge away all sin"346346Tobit xii. 9; Sirach iii. 30.; so that you may win suppliants who will pray for you in the persons of those upon whom you bestow your charity, so that the Lord may be merciful to you. " Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy."347347St. Matthew v. 7.

Why does the Lord allow people to be poor? For the same reason, amongst others, that He does not make you righteous all at once according to your wish. God might have made all men well off, even rich; but then a great forgetfulness of God would have arisen, and pride, envy, etc., would have increased. And you would have thought too highly of yourself had the Lord made you soon righteous. But as sin humbles you, showing you your great infirmity, impurity, and constant need of God and His grace, so likewise the poor man is humbled by poverty and his need of other people. If the poor were to be enriched, many of them would forget God and their benefactors, would ruin their souls in the luxury of this world. So destructive are riches, and so do they blind the spiritual vision! They make the heart gross and ungrateful!

Thoughts in the street, during a walk, at the sight of the rising moon. I gratify you in everything, says the Lord: I have created you after Mine own image and likeness; I have made the sun, the moon, and the stars shine for you; I have created the earth with all its fruits for you; I have 152 diffused the air for you to breathe; I have given you fire to light and warm you, and to cook your food; I have given you various kinds of sweet food and drink; I have taught you how to make many and various tissues for your clothing, and have given you materials for this purpose; I have given you gold, silver, copper, and other metals in the bosom of the earth, for money and other objects; I have gathered you together in well-organised communities; I have given you a sovereign after Mine own heart, Mine anointed, My likeness upon earth; lastly, I have given you Mine only Begotten Son—have given Him to die for you; have given Him, by His own will, to you for food and drink. I have founded the Church upon earth under His supremacy; what have you done and what are you doing for Me? How do you recompense Me for all My goodness? By forgetting Me, by ingratitude towards Me, by denying Me, by despising My laws! "O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I suffer you?348348St. Matthew xvii. 17

Thy name, Lord, is Almighty, because Thou holdest not only heaven and earth, but also all mankind, the life of every man, the hearts of all in Thy Hand; and not only the life of every man, but also of every beast, bird, fish, insect, worm, reptile, and of every infusoria invisible to the eye. Glory to Thine infinite Omnipotence, Lord! Glory to Thine All-merciful, Most-wise, and All-powerful Providence! Lord of heaven and earth! Almighty Sovereign! Thou likewise holdest in Thy Hand all hell, with Satan and his innumerable hordes; and it is only by Thy permission, for our instruction and punishment, that Satan and his angels can lay their snares for us. As soon as we pray to Thee our Saviour, as soon as we unfeignedly repent before Thee of our sins, Thou, having taught us, sendest away our enemies from us, saying: " You have done enough evil to My servants; they belong to Me again." Thus, Lord, if Thine unceasing benefits and mercies to us do not teach us, what remains to be done? It only remains for Thee to teach us by chastisement, by bitterness, by oppression, by fire, and by our own wickedness—we sensual men, who love space, freedom, vain carnal freshness; who are slothful, negligent, and evil by nature.

The world is in a state of slumber, of sinful sleep. It sleeps. God rouses it by wars, by deadly epidemics, fires, destructive storms, earthquakes, inundations, bad harvests.

"We sing the angelic hymn to Thee, O Mighty One! 153 Holy, holy, holy art Thou, O God! Through the Mother of God have mercy upon us."349349 From the Troparia to the Holy Trinity in the Morning Prayers. You thus praise God together with the angels.350350 Speaking of a Priest. You are one assembly, one church, one family of God's with them by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore you ought also to live like the angels, in constant watchfulness over yourself and the souls of the spiritual children entrusted to your care. You must unceasingly praise and thank the Lord; you must be always striving after holiness; you must live in abstinence and fasting, in all humble-mindedness, obedience, and patience. May it be thus with you, by the Lord's grace!

What shall I bring to Thee, Lord, for all Thy mercies which Thou continually bestowest so bountifully upon me? My faith alone, for I have no works that shall justify me; I have done no good thing before Thee. But even my faith is also Thy gift. Receive Thine own of Thine own offered Thee, for everything is Thine, and we are all Thine. Thou art our most perfect Prototype. "Of Thine unspeakable glory I an image am, and though I bear offences' scars, compassionate Thy creature, Lord, and cleanse me in Thy tenderness, and the desired Fatherland give Thou to me, a citizen of Paradise me making once again."351351 Troparion from the Burial Service. Take from us carnal passions, " so that we, trampling upon all carnal lusts, may follow a spiritual manner of life, both thinking and doing always such things as shall well please Thee."352352 From the Prayer said by the Priest during the Liturgy before the Gospel.

Lord! as it is natural to the Prototype to attach, to assimilate to Itself Its images, to abide and to live in them, so, likewise, it ought to be natural to those who are created after Thine image to yearn with all their love, with all their ardour, after their Prototype, and to attach themselves to It. But our greedy, sensual flesh, gross and inert, withdraws us from Thee. Fasting and abstinence are necessary for us whilst we crave after sensual gratifications. Strengthen us in abstinence.

When Christ is in our heart, we are contented with everything: what has been discomfort to us becomes the greatest comfort, what was bitter to us becomes sweet, poverty becomes wealth, our hunger is satisfied, and our sorrow turns into joy! But when Christ is not in the heart, then the man is not contented with anything, he does not find happiness in 154 anything: neither in health nor in comfort, nor in ranks and honours, nor in amusements, nor in rich palaces, nor in a luxuriously served table covered with all kinds of viands and drinks, nor in rich attire—in nothing. Ah! how necessary for the man is Christ, the Life-giver and Saviour of our souls! How necessary it is for Christ's sake—in order that He should dwell within us—for us to hunger and thirst, to sleep less, to dress more simply, and to bear everything with a quiet, peaceful, patient, meek spirit. The wicked fowler of our souls—the Devil, seeks at every moment to ensnare our souls; trying how he can wound us by some sin, by some passion; how he can implant some sinful habit or passion more firmly within us, so as to make the salvation of our soul as difficult as possible, so as to produce in us a coldness towards God, towards holy things, towards the Church, towards eternity, and towards mankind.

The Lord has created me, has brought me from nonentity into being, and after I had fallen, has restored me through His sufferings and death; He has cleansed me, a sinner, has made me His son by adoption; He has promised me the inheritance of eternal bliss; He has enlightened me through the light of His Gospel; He punishes and forgives me like a father; He lights me with the sun; He gives me daily food and drink; and above all He gives me His sweetest and life-giving food—His Body and Blood; He has diffused air for me to breathe, and above all He has poured upon me His Holy Spirit. He clothes me in beauteous garments; above all, He inwardly clothes me with Himself, as it is said: "For as many of you as have been baptised into Christ have put on Christ."353353Galatians iii. 27. He gives me rest in a spacious and clean dwelling, and promises me an eternal, resplendent abode in the heavens; He endows me with health: above all, He gives me spiritual health in abundance, through prayer and especially through the Holy Sacraments and other means. What shall I render to Him for all this? What can I do for Him in return? I cannot do anything, except to be faithful to Him with all my might, through fulfilling His Commandments and by offering a firm and unchanging resistance to sin and the Devil.

If it were not for Thy salvation, Lord, if it were not for Thy beneficence, we should have burned in the furnace of our own passions, Satan would have finally corrupted and tormented us, and we should not have found any comfort or joy in life. "If the Lord were not with us, we none could have withstood the enemy's attacks " "For they that overcome are thereby exalted."354354 Antiphon of the Sixth Tone.

155

But now we are comforted by Thy mercy, by Thy grace, which Thou hast won for us by Thy sufferings, by Thy Blood, by Thy death for us. Glory to Thee for this, Lover of men! But how will it be with those Christians who do not wish to know Thee, Thy Commandments, Thy teaching? Woe unto them!

What would it be, my Lord and God, Jesus Christ, if the light of Thy Godhead were to shine forth from Thy most pure Mysteries, when they rest upon the Holy Altar, or on the holy disk during the Liturgy, or in the tabernacle, or in the pyx, when the priest carries them upon his breast going to or coming from a sick person? Before such a light, all those who saw it would prostrate themselves to earth in fear, for even the angels cover their faces from fear of Thine inaccessible glory! But meanwhile, how indifferently some people behave towards these most heavenly Mysteries! How carelessly some persons celebrate the terrible service of the Holy Mysteries!

I must always remember my relation to God, on one side, as that of a creature to the Creator, as that of a work of art to the Artist, of a potter's vessel to the Potter; on the other side, as that of an image to its Prototype, that of a child to its Father, of one saved to the Saviour, of one loaded with benefits to the Benefactor, of one who is under the law to the Law-Giver, of one who has entered into the Testament to the Giver of the Testament, of one who is betrothed to the Bridegroom, or of a bride to the Bridegroom, of a member, of a citizen of the great city to its Chief, of one looking for the ages to come to the Father of those ages, of an accused to the Judge.

In everything and at every time strive to please God and think of the salvation of your soul from sin and from the Devil, and of its adoption by God. On rising from your bed, make the sign of the Cross and say: " In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost," and also: " Vouchsafe, O Lord, to keep us this day without sin and teach me to do Thy Will."355355 From the Great Doxology at Matins. While washing, either at home or at the baths, say: " Purge me with hyssop, Lord, and I shall be clean; wash me and I shall be whiter than snow."356356 Psalm li. 7. When putting on your linen, think of the cleanliness of the heart, and ask the Lord for a clean heart: "Create in me a clean heart, O God!"357357 Psalm li. 10. If you have made new clothes and are putting them on, think of the renewal of the spirit and say: "Renew a right spirit within me"3583584 Ibid.; laying aside old clothes, 156 and disdaining them, think with still greater disdain of laying aside the old man, the sinful, passionate, carnal man; tasting the sweetness of bread, think of the true Bread, which gives eternal life to the soul—the Body and Blood of Christ—and hunger after this bread—that is long to communicate of it oftener; drinking water, tea, sweet-tasted mead or any other drink, think of the true drink that quenches the thirst of the soul inflamed by passions—of the most-pure and life-giving Blood of the Saviour; resting during the day, think of the eternal rest, prepared for those who wrestle and struggle against sin, against the subcelestial spirits of evil, against human injustice or rudeness and ignorance; lying down to sleep at night, think of the sleep of death, which sooner or later will unfailingly come to all of us, of that dark, eternal, terrible night, into which all impenitent sinners will be cast; meeting the day, think of the nightless day, eternal, most bright—brighter than the sunniest earthly day—the day of the kingdom of Heaven, at which all those will rejoice who have striven to please God, or who have repented before God from their whole life during this temporary life; when you are going anywhere, think of the righteousness of spiritually walking before God and say: "Order my steps in Thy word and let not any iniquity have dominion over me;"359359Psalm cxix. 133. when doing anything, strive to do it with the thought of God, the Creator, who has made everything by His infinite wisdom, grace, and omnipotence, and has created you after His image and likeness; when you receive or have any money or treasure, think, that our inexhaustible Treasury, from which we derive all the treasures of our soul and body, the ever-flowing Source of every blessing is—God, thank Him with all your soul and do not shut up your treasures within yourself, lest you shut the entrance of your heart to the priceless and living treasure—God, but distribute part of your property amongst those who are in want to the needy, to your poor brethren, who are left in this life so that you may prove upon them your love, your gratitude to God and be rewarded for this by God in eternity; when you see the white glitter of silver, do not be allured by it, but think that your soul should be white and should shine with Christ's virtues; when you see the glitter of gold, do not be allured by it, but remember that your soul ought to be purified as gold is, by fire, and that the Lord desires to make you yourself shine like the sun, in the eternal, bright kingdom of His Father, that you will see the Sun of Righteousness—God, the Trinity, the Most-Holy Virgin, the Mother of God, and all the heavenly powers and Saints, filled with ineffable light and shining with the light poured upon them.

157

Lord! what shall I bring Thee? How shall I thank Thee for Thy continual great mercies to me and the rest of Thy people? For I am at every moment vivified by Thy Holy Spirit. Each moment I breathe the air Thou hast diffused—the soft, pleasant, healthful, strengthening air—I am lighted by Thy life-giving and joyful light, both spiritual and material; I am nourished and my thirst is quenched by the sweetest life-giving spiritual food and drink, by the Sacrament of Thy Body and Blood, and with the sweetness of material food and drink besides. Thou clothest me with the brightest, most splendid royal garment—with Thyself—according to the Scripture—"As many of you as have been baptised into Christ have put on Christ"360360 Galatians iii. 27. —and with earthly garments also. Thou cleansest me from my transgressions, healing and cleansing me also from my evil, sinful passions. Thou takest away my spiritual corruption, through the power of Thy immeasurable holiness, wisdom, and might. Thou fillest me with Thy Holy Spirit, the Spirit of holiness and grace. Thou givest righteousness, peace and joy, expansion, power, boldness, courage, and strength to my soul. Thou bestowest precious health upon my body. Thou teachest "my hands to war and my fingers to fight"361361Psalm cxliv. L against the invisible enemies of my salvation and blessedness; against the enemies of holiness and of the power of Thy glory; against the subcelestial spirits of evil. Thou crownest me with success in my works accomplished in Thy name. For all this I thank, glorify, and bless Thy most gracious, fatherly, almighty power, God, our Saviour, our Benefactor. May the rest of Thy people know Thee as Thou hast revealed Thyself unto me, Lover of men. May they know Thee, Thy grace, Thy providence, Thy wisdom and power, and glorify Thee, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, now and ever, and to ages of ages. Amen.

"The unspeakable bliss of them that behold the infinite goodness of Thy countenance."362362 From the Russian Orthodox Church Morning Prayer: Prayer of St. Basil the Great Earthly bliss all passes away by itself, and also through vicissitudes of human life; whilst joys of heavenly bliss will never end—will be infinite. Is it not worth while, therefore, to despise all the enjoyments of this transitory world, and of this still more fleeting life, in order to strive with the whole heart after spiritual and unchangeable joys.

It is madness for a Christian to be envious. In Christ we have all received infinitely great blessings; are all made godly; are all made inheritors of the unspeakable and eternal blessings of the kingdom of heaven. And we are also promised a 158 sufficiency of earthly blessings, upon the condition of seeking the righteousness of God and the Kingdom of God. "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you."363363St. Matthew vi. 33. We are commended to be contented with what we have, and not to be covetous. "Let your conversation be without covetousness, and be content with such things as ye have." And it is added, "For He" (the Lord) "hath said, 'I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.'"364364Hebrews xiii. 5. Is it not, therefore, madness, after this, to envy your neighbour anything—for instance, his honours, his wealth, his luxurious table, beautiful clothing, his fine house, etc.? Is not all this mere dross in comparison to that which has been given us in the image and likeness of God, according to which we were created, in our redemption by the Son of God from our sins, from the curse and from death, in the bestowal upon us again of the blessing of our Heavenly Father, and in the eternal heavenly joys united with it? Therefore let us strive to acquire mutual love, goodwill, and contentedness with what we have; friendship, hospitality, love for the poor, for the stranger, "and to attain to the summit of virtues," humility, meekness, gentleness, and holiness. Let us respect the image of God in each other, the members of Christ, our God, His Body, God's sons by adoption, the citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven, the dwellers with, and companions of, the angels in praising God. "That they may be one,"365365St. John xvii. 22. as our God, worshipped in the Holy Trinity, is Himself one, and has created our hearts "as one" for unity—that is, simple, single.

All present things are but a shadow of the future. The present light is a shadow of the future ineffable light. Earthly bliss is a faint shadow of future unspeakable, eternal bliss; fire a faint shadow of the fire of Gehenna, which will burn sinners unto ages of ages; pure earthly joy a shadow of unspeakable future joys; the magnificent royal palaces a faint shadow of the resplendent mansions of Paradise prepared for those who love God and fulfil His commandments. The glorious attire of the sons and daughters of men cannot be compared with that glorious garment with which the elect shall be clothed, for they will put on Christ. "Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the Kingdom of the Father,"366366 St. Matthew xiii. 43. according to the Saviour's sure promise.

As a child is indifferent to whatever clothes are put on it, so also the Christian, an infant in Christ, should be indifferent to the variety, richness, and beauty of his earthly garments, 159 considering Christ, our God, his best and incorruptible garment; for an attachment to expensive, fine clothes is peculiar to the children of this world and to the heathen, as the Lord says, "For after all these things"—that is, food and fine raiment --"do the Gentiles seek"367367St. Matthew vi. 32.; for dress is the idol of the children of this world. O, how vain and frivolous are we, we who are called to communion with God, to whom is promised the inheritance of incorruptible and eternal blessings! How obscure is our understanding of corruptible and incorruptible blessings! How unwise we are in valuing worthless things and not prizing incorruptible blessings: our immortal soul, peace, joy, boldness before God, holiness, obedience, patience in general—all the qualities of a true Christian. "For as many of you as have been baptised into Christ have put on Christ."368368Galatians iii. 27. Therefore we must value spiritual blessings and valour, and despise material things as corruptible and worthless.

The sin of inattention is one to which we are, in a great degree subjected; we must not disregard it, but must repent of it; we give ourselves up to inattention, not only at home, but also in church. "Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not."369369St. Luke xxii. 31. The causes of inattention are—the Devil, and our manifold attachment to worldly, earthly things; its reason is—want of faith; the means to overcome it—fervent prayer.

There is no happiness for me on earth save the Lord Jesus Christ, with His Father and the Holy Ghost. He is my sole blessedness upon earth. After God, there is nothing on earth dearer to me (as it should be, than the human soul—it is dearer than anything else. Man is a precious being. God Himself came down from heaven upon earth for his salvation. To man He gives for food and drink His most pure Body and Blood (all Himself), only that he may become blessed, that he may not be lost. AH the fruits of the earth, the treasures of all the three kingdoms of the earth, He has given into the dominion for the use and pleasure of man. By all these immeasurable bounties the Lord has shown, and still shows, that He infinitely loves mankind, and every man separately. Let us, too, imitate God's love and bountifulness; let us be, as far as possible, merciful and bountiful, as our Heavenly Father is merciful.370370St. Luke vi. 36.

Wherever I look with my spiritual vision, whether within me or upon me, or outside of me—everywhere, I see powerful 160 reasons for thanking and praising the Lord. Especially when I look only within myself: then I see the strongest reason for doing so. The whole strength of my heart, all my spiritual light, comes from God; all my bodily strength, everything that serves to maintain my bodily life, comes from God. Everywhere I see the glory the sole glory, of my God, and see nothing in myself of which I could boast as of my own. Glory to Him Who gives me strength! Glory to Him Who works through me, and within me. As I have nothing of my own, and have everything from God, down to the smallest good inclination of my heart, down to every holy and bright thought, whilst without God I am nothing—worse than this, I am all evil; therefore I have the strongest reasons to have recourse to God in prayer for everything. I have especially powerful reasons to thank God for His most pure and life-giving Sacrament—His Body and Blood; it is everything to me. I fervently praise the Lord Jesus Christ, our God, for His unspeakable love to us mortals, revealed in the Holy Sacrament.

What an immeasurably great honour it is to mankind that they can open their lips before God; that they can converse with Him, and are able to make request to Him of their needs; to thank Him for His benefits, to praise His unspeakable magnificence, and to be assured that this sacrifice of thanksgiving and praise is agreeable to God; that our highest spiritual requests to Him relating to the salvation of our souls are always fulfilled! How immeasurably high is man exalted in this respect above all other sentient and animate creatures! No other creature has received such honour from God, though they, too, have tongues, expressing the needs of their nature; for it is said that young ravens call upon Him371371Psalm cxlvii. 9.. Let us, therefore, make use of this great honour, in order to be worthy of a still higher honour from the Lord—of the heavenly calling. There, in heaven, shall be our full glory; whilst here its beginning only is revealed to true Christians.

On account of our corporeity and spirituality, the Lord unites His grace, even Himself, to everything visible and material, and works through everything: thus He transforms bread and wine into His own Body and Blood, or into His visible tabernacle. He changes the temple into His own house; upon the altar in the temple He invisibly sits, enthroned as a king; upon the cross He manifests Himself, as though in the same body in which He was crucified, and works miracles by means of the cross, showing His life-giving power through it. He is everywhere throughout the universe, as in a temple, and, at the same time 161 being wholly everywhere, is not limited by any space, being always above every space and time. You marvel that He can unite His own self, or His power and His saving grace, to matter. Marvel, first of all, how He has united in man His Godly image with matter, with earth and dust; how this dust can think, speak, and diffuse around itself the fragrance of goodness, righteousness, truth, and love, and can accomplish in the common life so many wonderful, truly wonderful, deeds. Marvel also at how many various kinds of speechless souls are enclosed in the dust, gifted with some kind of sense, with a thirst after life and joy, with a feeling of self-protection, a capacity for finding themselves food, for constructing what is necessary for their safety, and for bringing their children into the world, and understanding how to defend themselves cleverly. Marvel how nearly all inanimate bodies are united with invisible, intangible powers, which sometimes move their enormous masses (as with the heavenly bodies), sometimes turn them into beautiful, and always identical, unchangeable forms (as in plants). Marvel that so many different powers are created by God; for all powers are derived from the one Single Power, and the Almighty Himself works through every power. Truly, everything appertaining to God the Creator, as to the God of wonders, is wonderful; likewise in faith—everything is wonderful, though invisible, but true and real! "The pure in heart shall see God."372372St. Matthew v. 8. God is an all-seeing Eye, a spiritual Sun, standing above the world, penetrating with His spiritual eyes into the thoughts and hearts of men, enlightening every creature. Our soul is an eye from the Eye, sight from the Sight, light from the Light. But now, since our fall into sin, our eye, our soul, is diseased through sins. Take the cataract off your eye, and you will see the spiritual Sun, the everlasting Eye, ten thousand times brighter than the material sun.

How often it happens in life that a man has one thing in his heart and another upon his lips, and wears two faces at one and the same time! It is thus also during prayer, before God Himself, Who knows the secrets of the heart; a man also frequently wears two faces, saying one thing and having another in his heart and thoughts. If, which happens still oftener, when saying a prayer, although he understands it and thinks about it, he does not sympathise in his heart with that which he is saying—being dead, and thus throwing the words to the air—then he deceives himself if he believes that he can please God by such a prayer. This is strange, sinful duplicity! It is a bitter fruit and evidence of our fall into sin. It seems habitual to our heart to lie in prayer 162 and in our intercourse with other men. The heart is a pillar of falsehood. "All men are liars."373373Psalm cxvi. 10. The Christian must make use of every means in order to eradicate every falsehood from his heart, and to implant pure truth within it. We must begin with prayer, as with a matter in which truth is indispensable before everything, in accordance with the Lord's own words: "Worship Him in spirit and in truth."374374St. John iv. 24. Speak the truth from your heart.375375Psalm xv. 2. When we have learnt to speak the truth from our heart during prayer, we shall not allow ourselves to lie in our everyday life: sincere, true prayer, having cleansed our heart from falsehood, will protect it against falsehood in our relations with other men in worldly matters. How can we teach ourselves to speak the truth from our heart during prayer? We must bring every word of the prayer down to our heart, lay it to heart, feel its truth in our heart, be convinced of all our need of that for which we ask God in prayer, or of the need of hearty gratitude for His great and innumerable benefits to us, and of most heartfelt praise for His great, most wise works in His creation.

Everything that constitutes me man (the soul), lives solely by God, and only in union with Him, whilst when the soul separates itself from God, then it experiences extreme distress. But the life of my soul consists in the peace of my spiritual powers, and this peace proceeds exclusively from God. There is, it is true, carnal peace also, but it is a delusive one --the forerunner of spiritual storm—of which the Lord says: "When they shall say (to men), Peace and safety, then suddenly destruction cometh upon them "3763761 Thessalonians v. 3.; but spiritual peace, which proceeds from the Spirit of God differs, as heaven from earth, from such carnal peace. It is heavenly blissgiving. "Peace I give you," often said the Lord to His disciples, giving them His peace, and the Apostles also gave "peace to believers," and wished them God's peace as the highest blessing, because God's peace constitutes the life of our soul, and witnesses to the union of our soul with God. The absence of peace in the soul—disturbance, by which all the passionate conditions of our soul are distinguished—is spiritual death and the sign of the action of the enemy of our salvation in our hearts.

Faith is the key of God's treasury. She dwells in simple, kind, loving hearts. "All things are possible to him that believeth."377377 St. Mark ix. 23. Faith is a spiritual mouth, the more freely it 163 opens the greater the stream by which the Divine springs enter into it; let this mouth freely open, as your bodily one does; do not let your lips be compressed by doubt and unbelief: if you compress them by doubt and unbelief, the treasury of God's blessings will be closed to you. The more openly, the more heartily you believe in God's omnipotence, the more bountifully will God's heart be opened to you. "What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them and ye shall have them."378378St. Mark xi. 24.

All men are the breath and the creation of the One God—from God they have come forth, and to God, as to their origin, they will return: "Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was; and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it."379379Ecclesiastes xii. 7. "That by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust."380380 2 Peter i. 4. As the breath of the One God, and as having proceeded from one man, men ought, naturally, to live in mutual love, mutually caring for one another, and ought not to be divided from each other by selfishness, pride, malice, envy, avarice, or unsociability of character, "that they may be one."381381St. John xvii. 22. Look at the ants, how friendly they are; look at the bees, how friendly they are; look at the flights of pigeons, daws, rooks, crows, geese, ducks, swans, sparrows, how friendly they all are; look at a flock of sheep, and in general at any horned cattle, how friendly they all are. Think of the innumerable shoals of some sorts of fishes in the seas and rivers, which always like to move in shoals, how friendly they are. Think also how zealously they all take care of each other, help each other, love each other—and be shamed by the dumb creatures, you who do not live in love with others and flee from the obligation of bearing one another's burdens.382382Galatians vi, 2.

God is long-suffering and merciful to you: this you experience many times every day. Be long-suffering and merciful to your brethren, also fulfilling the words of the Apostle, who thus speaks of charity before everything: "Charity suffereth long, and is kind."3833831 Corinthians xiii. 4. You desire that the Lord should rejoice you by His love, rejoice on your part the hearts of others by your tender love and kindness.

God is love, a most-gracious, all-wise and omnipotent Being. Therefore, those who pray must believe that the Lord will give all things needful, bountifully, as He is loving, and bountiful 164 wisely, as He is All-wise; and as He is omnipotent, there and then, when we do not expect.

During Divine service, during the celebration of all the sacraments and prayers, be trustful, as a child in relation to his parents. Remember what great Fathers of the Church, what inspired luminaries, enlightened by the Holy Ghost, are guiding you! Be simple, trustful, undoubting as a child in godly matters. Cast all your care upon the Lord, and be entirely free from sorrow. "Take no thought how or what ye shall speak, for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father, which speaketh in you."384384St. Matthew x. 19, 20. The Lord has long ago freed us from this care, this sorrow, having taught our God-fearing Fathers by His Spirit, what to say and how to pray to the Lord at Divine service, at the celebration of the sacraments and upon various other occasions and circumstances of human life, requiring prayer to bring down a blessing from above. It ought to be easy for us to pray. Only the enemy troubles us. But what matters his troubling if our heart is firmly established in the Lord! It is only a misfortune if we do not rest in God; if there is no firm faith in us, if we have bound ourselves by worldly attachments, if our intellect is proud and presumptuous, then, even in the most holy, most pure matter of service, at the celebration and communion of the Holy Mysteries, the enemy will greatly hinder us.

Be as kind, meek, humble, and simple as possible in your intercourse with all, considering yourself not hypocritically inferior to all in respect to your spiritual condition; that is, more sinful and weaker than all. Say to yourself, "Of all sinners I am the first." From pride proceeds self-sufficiency, coldness, and insincerity in our behaviour to our inferiors, or to those from whom we do not expect to obtain any advantage.

How quick we are to evil and how slow to good! Now I desire to do good to my enemy, and to really show him kindness, but before I succeed in becoming kind in my heart, I am already evil, a fiery arrow of evil already inwardly burns one; I wish to be patient, but before I have strengthened my heart in patience, I become irritable, impatient; I wish to be humble, but Satan's pride has already found ample room in my heart; I wish to be gracious, meanwhile, when it is necessary to show graciousness, I show myself rough; I wish to be unmercenary and generous, but cupidity and avarice, upon the least occasion, like hungry and roaring lions, require to be fed; I wish to be 165 simple, trustful, but cunning and doubt already gnaw at my heart; I wish to be grave, concentrated, and reverent in my service to the Almighty, but light-mindedness and inattention of the heart prevent my becoming so; I wish to detach myself from earthly things, to be abstinent in food and drink, but when I see pleasant food and drink and sit down to table, I, like a slave, am taken a willing captive by my belly, I easily allow myself to eat and drink more than my nature requires, greediness and intemperance again prevent and get the better of my desire to be indifferent to food and drink, thus I am like that impotent man who lay for thirty-eight years upon his bed, and came many times to the pool of Bethesda, which made whole whosoever first stepped in after the troubling of the water by an Angel, "but always another stepped down before him."385385St. John v. 7.And when I, having become impotent through my sins, make an effort and come to myself, with the intention of immersing myself in God and of changing for the better, another steppeth into my heart before me, sin and the Devil forestal me in my own house, in my own pool of Bethesda, and do not allow me to reach the Source of living waters, the Lord—do not allow me to immerse myself in the cleansing pool of faith, humility, heart-felt contrition and tears. Who will heal me then? Jesus Christ alone. When He sees my sincere and firm desire to be healed of my spiritual infirmity, when He hears my fervent prayer, then He will say to me: " Take up thy bed and walk,"386386St. John v. 8. and I shall rise from the bed of spiritual infirmity and walk; that is, by His grace I shall easily vanquish all my passions and fulfil every virtue.

During prayer, intentional, deliberate, extreme humility is indispensable. We must remember, who speaks and what he says, this is especially necessary during the Lord's Prayer: "Our Father ..." Humility destroys all the snares of the enemy. Ah! how much secret pride there is in us. This, we say, I know; this I do not need; this is not for me; this is superfluous; in that I am not a sinner. How much sophistry of our own!

When you pray, say in your heart, against the various thoughts and provocations that come from the enemy: " The Lord is everything to me." Likewise, during all your life, when passions attack you, and during every oppression of the enemy, and during sickness, afflictions, misfortunes, and disasters, say: "The Lord is everything to me; I myself can do nothing—cannot bear anything, cannot surmount, conquer anything—He is my strength."

166

Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of Me and of My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed."387387St. Mark viii. 38. O contemptible shame! O devilish shame! O stink of Satan's ascending from the well of the abyss! How many are diseased with it? How many do not recognise its enticement and become enslaved by it, to the ruin of their souls? Look at worldly writers, journalists --writers of feuilletons. They write, write, write. ... of what will they not write during their literary career? But of God, of our Saviour, Jesus Christ, of the Church, of Divine service, of the Christian festivals, of the resurrection of our body, of the judgment, of the life beyond the grave—they do not even make mention. They say it is not their province, not their business. We are of the world, we speak of worldly matters, and therefore the world listens to us; but if we were to speak of God, perhaps nobody would read what we write. Thus worldly literature is completely foreign to the spirit of Christianity, it even seems to be ashamed of the spirit of Christ.

The Devil cunningly induces us—instead of irritating us against himself—to notice our neighbours' sins, to make us spiteful and angry with others, and to awaken our contempt towards them, thus keeping us in enmity with our neighbours, and with the Lord God Himself. Therefore, we must despise the sins, the faults themselves, and not our brother who commits them at the Devil's instigation, through infirmity and habit; we must pity him, and gently and lovingly instruct him, as one who forgets himself, or who is sick, as a prisoner and the slave of his sin. But our animosity, our anger towards the sinner only increases his sickness, oblivion, and spiritual bondage, instead of lessening them; besides this, it makes us ourselves like madmen, or sick men, the prisoners of our own passions, and of the Devil, who is the author of them.

Every sin proceeds from the spirit of evil; he who sins is the slave of sin, is tortured by sin; therefore, do not be too severe, but be gentle with him who sins, knowing our common infirmity. Pity the sinner, as one who is sick, or who has lost his way, and is walking in darkness, or as one who is bound with iron fetters, as one whose mind is deranged; for all these qualities may be attributed to a sinner, or to one who is under the dominion of some passion. It is necessary to watch over such a man in every way, so that the fire of sin should not burn him, should not darken him, should not bind him, should not plunge him into sickness, should not destroy him. 388388 St. Mark viii. 38.

167

We are accustomed to the works of God, and therefore value them but little; we do not, for instance, value even man as we ought to—that greatest work and miracle of God's omnipotence and grace. Look upon every man, whether he is one of your household, or a stranger to you, as upon something perpetually new in God's world, as upon the greatest miracle of God's omnipotence and grace, and do not let the fact of your being accustomed to him serve as a reason for you to neglect him. Esteem and love him, as your own self, constantly, and unchangeably.

Sometimes in nature a warm, healthful wind blows, pleasantly and lightly, permeating and coming in contact with the body, and the sky is serene; whilst at other times a cold wind blows, one feels, somehow, distressed and feverish, the wind pierces to the very bones and affects the body unpleasantly, the earth and sky are darkened; or else sometimes the state of the atmosphere is warm and warmth-giving, and at other times cold, benumbing. It is likewise in the spiritual life: sometimes our soul is surrounded and penetrated by a light, pleasant, warmth-giving, vivifying breath, we feel ourselves happy and tranquil; whilst at others our heart is touched by a heavy, deathly breath, accompanied by complete spiritual darkness. The first state proceeds from the Spirit of God, the second from the Devil. It is necessary to accustom ourselves to everything: as in the first case, not to grow self-conceited, so in the last, not to fall into despondency, into despair, but to fervently have recourse to God.

If men had not been created according to the image of God, the Lord would not have been incarnate of the most holy Virgin. O how our nature is raised, both in its creation and in its redemption! Through the incarnation of the Son of God from the most holy Virgin Mary, God has most truly united Himself with men. "O Thou, by Thy glorious birth-giving hast united God-the-Word with men, and linked our apostate nature with heavenly things."389389Prayer to the Most Holy Mother of God at Vespers. Glory to Thee, Who art meetly praised by every reasonable creature, for Thou hast obtained from God such grace and purity that Thou wert able, through favour of God the Father, by the operation of the Holy Ghost, to give flesh to the Son of God! Make us also worthy, O Lord, to attain purity of spirit and body through the communion of the Divine Mysteries of the Body and Blood of Thy Son.

Through His incarnation the Lord has entered into the closest relation with man. It is marvellous! God Himself is 168 united in one person with man. God became flesh—"the Word was made flesh."390390St. John i. 14. God Himself partook of our carnal food and drink, was laid in a manger, lived in a house. He Who cannot be contained by the heavens walked upon the earth, upon the waters, upon the air. 'He went up," it is said, "toward heaven." 391391Acts i. 10. He was nailed to the tree, "He Who hangeth the earth upon nothing by His command."392392Canon of the Fifth Tone. The whole earth, the waters, and the air—all are sanctified by the incarnate Son of God; therefore the earth is dear to Him—this temporary abode of men, this inn of the human race, this place of His habitation amongst men. But especially dear to Him are men themselves, whose souls and bodies He has received into unity with His own Person, and especially with true Christians. He is in them, and they in Him.

What is above all desirable for man? The avoidance of sin, the remission and forgiveness of sins and the attainment of holiness. Wherefore? Because sins, such as, for instance, pride, evil behaviour towards our neighbours, wicked suspiciousness, covetousness, avarice, envy, etc., separate us from God, the Source of life, withdraw us from fellowship with other men, and plunge us into spiritual death; whilst gentle, humble, and kind behaviour to all, even to our enemies, simplicity, disinterestedness, contentedness with little and with the indispensable, generosity to everyone, goodwill and all other virtuous qualities, unite us to God, the Source of life, and to other men by endearing us to them. Grant then, Lord, that we may entirely flee from sin; that we may accustom ourselves to every virtue, through Thy grace. Yea, Master, Lord, without Thee we, " being evil,"393393St. Matthew xii. 34. can do no good thing.

We must not be exasperated, angry, and proud, as is habitual to our corrupt nature, against those who are angry, envious, or proud towards us, but we must pity them as overcome by the flames of hell, and by spiritual death; we must pray to God for them from the depths of our hearts, that the Lord may take away the darkness from their souls and enlighten their hearts by the light of His grace. We are darkened by our own passions, and do not see the foolishness, the monstrousness of them, and of our conduct; but when the Lord enlightens us by the light of His grace, then we, awaking as from a sleep, clearly perceive the monstrousness, the foolishness of our thoughts, feelings, words, and actions; our heart, which was hardened until then, softens; the evil passes away and is replaced by mercy, kindness, and indulgence. Therefore, in accordance with our 169 Saviour's words, we must also love our enemies: "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you,"3943941 St. Matthew v. 44. for they, our brethren are also blind, have also gone astray.

This present life is a life of exile: "The Lord God," it is said, "sent him forth from the garden of Eden;"395395Genesis iii. 23. and we, all of us, must earnestly strive to regain our country through repentance and works meet for repentance. Lord, "the desired fatherland give Thou to me, a citizen of Paradise me making once again."396396Troparion for the Burial Service. The present life is the narrow way, the way of afflictions, privations, and maladies. The narrower the way, the more convincing, the surer it is, that we are going the right, true way; the wider, the more certain it is that we are nigh to destruction. The present life is a daily, cruel, most bitter struggle against the enemies of our salvation, especially against the invisible, sub-celestial spirits of evil, who do not leave us in peace for a single day, but constantly make use of their craft and subtlety against us, kindling various passions within us, and wounding us in the most acute manner by their shafts. Remember, therefore, that an incessant war is waged against us; that there is not time to rest, to enjoy, and amuse ourselves in this life, which is given us for our preparation for the future one; neither when we are tried by misfortunes; nor even then, when it seems to us we are perfectly easy and happy, as, for instance, when we give ourselves to pleasure at theatres or soirée’s, when we display ourselves in festive attire and ornaments, when we give ourselves up to the pleasures of the table, when we turn round in the gay dance, drive in fine equipages, etc. Amidst all your worldly pleasures, man, the greatest misfortune hangs over you. You are a sinner; you are God's enemy; you are in great danger of losing eternal life, especially if you live negligently, if you do not do works meet for repentance. The wrath of God hangs over you, especially if you do not appease the God Whom you have offended by your prayers, penitence, and amendment. Thus, this is no time for you for pleasures, but rather for tears; your pleasures should be rare, and principally such as are afforded you by faith - in spiritual festivals.

God is an almighty power over all material worlds. More than that, He is a most wonderful, most merciful, and most just power over the spiritual world - that is, the world of angels and men. In His hands are all spirits, their peace and blessedness, as well as the anguish and torments of evil spirits and evil men.

170

As we sometimes blaspheme the Divinity by the impure, dark, and evil state of our soul - blaspheme the Father, the Word, and the Most Holy Ghost, the Comforter - so, on the contrary, some men, through the benign disposition of their souls, are capable of comforting all by their words, thus glorifying the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost the Comforter, " Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God."3973972 Corinthians i. 4.

The Almighty Lord. His omnipotence embraces all creatures, the highest and the lowest, intellectual and sentient, angels and men, heaven and all that is therein, the earth and everything upon it, the sea and everything within it. His omnipotence absolutely embraces everything in general and every part of creation. Thus it embraces the heart of man and his thoughts; therefore it is said, "the king's heart is in the hand of the Lord."398398Proverbs xxi. 1. This is also why the Apostle says, "Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves, but our sufficiency is of God."399399Corinthians iii. 5. If God's grace leaves my heart and my mind I become as the dust carried away by the wind, without any moral stability, with an inclination to every possible evil; both my mind and my heart become empty, trivial, dark, and powerless.

The Virgin Mary is the most merciful sovereign of all the sons and daughters of men, as the Daughter of God the Father, Who is love; the Mother of God the Word, of our love; the chosen bride of the Holy Ghost, Who is love consubstantial with the Father and the Word. How can we do otherwise than have recourse to such a sovereign and expect to receive all spiritual blessings from Her?

Firmly purpose in your soul to hate every sin of thought, word, and deed, and when you are tempted to sin resist it valiantly and with a feeling of hatred for it; only beware lest your hatred should turn against the person of your brother who gave occasion for the sin. Hate the sin with all your heart, but pity your brother; instruct him, and pray for him to the Almighty, Who sees all of us and tries our hearts and innermost parts. "Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin."400400 Hebrews xii. 4. It is impossible not to often fall into sin unless you have a hatred of it implanted in your heart. Self-love must be eradicated. Every sin comes from the love of self. Sin always appears, or feigns to be, to wish us well, promising us plenteous- 171 ness and ease. "The tree was good for food, and it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise."401401Genesis iii. 6. This is how sin always appears to us.

If guardian angels did not preserve us from the snares of evil demons, O how often we should have fallen from one sin into another; how devils would have tormented us—they who delight in tormenting men—which indeed happens when the Lord allows the guardian angels to withdraw themselves from us for a time, and devils lay snares for us. Yes, the angels of peace, our true guides, the guardians of our souls and bodies, are ever with us if we do not voluntarily drive them away from us by the abomination of sensuality, pride, doubt, and unbelief. We somehow feel that they cover us with the wings of their immaterial glory, only we do not see them. Our good thoughts, inclinations, words, and deeds, all proceed from them.

The enemy often wounds our souls by his malice and burns us. This wound spreads like a gangrene in the heart if we do not stop it in time by the sincere prayer of faith. And God wounds our souls by His love, but this wound is light, sweet, not burning, but warming and vivifying.

Concerning penitence. Penitence should be sincere, perfectly free, and not in any way forced by any particular time and habit, or by the person before whom the sinner confesses. Otherwise it would not be true penitence. It is said: " Repent ye; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."402402St. Matthew iv. 7. Is at hand—that is, it has come by itself. It is not necessary to seek for it long—it seeks us, our free inclination; that is, you yourself must repent with heartfelt contrition. "They were baptized of him " (is said of those baptized of John) "confessing their sins"403403St. Matthew iii. 6.; that is, they themselves acknowledged their sins. And as our prayer consists principally of penitence and asking forgiveness of our sins, it must absolutely be always sincere and perfectly free, not against our will, not forced out of us by habit and custom. Such also should be our prayer when it is one of thanksgiving and praise. Gratitude supposes the soul of the man benefited to be full of free, lively feeling flowing freely from the mouth, " for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh."404404St. Matthew xii. 34. Praise, too, supposes an ecstasy of wonder in the man who contemplates the infinite goodness, wisdom, and omnipotence of God in the moral and material world, and therefore it ought also to be a perfectly free and intelligent action. In general, prayer should be a free and perfectly 172 conscious outpouring of the man's heart before God, "I have poured out my soul before the Lord."405405Prayer of Hannah, the mother of Samuel (1 Samuel i. 15). In order to purify and stimulate our prayer, the Lord allows the Devil to painfully inflame our inward parts, so that we, feeling a strange fire within us, and suffering from it, may endeavour to bring into our heart by means of humble prayer the fire of God, the fire of the Holy Ghost giving life to our hearts.

The Lord allows the enemy to tempt us in order to prove us, in order to strengthen our spiritual powers in our struggle against the enemy, and so that we ourselves may see more clearly towards what our heart inclines, whether it inclines to patience, hope, and love and in general to virtue, or to irritability, incredulity, murmuring, blasphemy, malice, and despair. Therefore we must not be despondent, but must good-humouredly and patiently bear spiritual darkness that descends upon our soul, the fire that weakens and inclines us to impatience and malice, the affliction and oppression, knowing that all these are indispensable in the order of our spiritual life, that by these the Lord is proving us. Do not let us blaspheme against the true way--the way of holy faith and virtue, and do not let us prefer the evil way. We are free, and must strengthen ourselves by every means and with all our power in faith and virtue, unto the laying down of our life406406St. John xv. 13 for the way of truth; and how can this be if we have no temptations?

The Devil strikes the hearts of priests with slothfulness, dryness, and barrenness, in order that they should not preach the truths of the Gospel to God's people, should not tell them the entire Will of God. During prayer he also works upon the heart, and strikes it with insensibility, so that the prayer should not be sincere, but only said out of habit; he does not let the heart contemplate during prayer the greatness of all God's perfections, the greatness, of the Mother of God, that of the Angels, and of God's Saints. The Devil is like a wicked, sharp-pointed needle, which, at every time and everywhere, gets into the eyes of your heart, dimming and eclipsing them; he is the poisonous dust which always flies about our spiritual atmosphere and settles corrosively upon our hearts, eating them up and piercing them. He acts in the same manner upon some teachers of religion, striking their hearts with dryness and oppression, in order that they may not teach God's truths sympathetically to the young branches of Christ's vine, nor water them with the life-giving streams of the Gospel.

173

Here is a society of men of the world: they go on talking and talking, for the greater part amusing themselves with trifles, and there is no mention of God--the common Father of all--of His love for us, of the future life, of recompense; why is it so? Because they are ashamed to speak of God. But what is still more surprising is that even persons deeming themselves pious, themselves luminaries, seldom speak of God, of Christ the Saviour, of the preciousness of time, of abstinence, of the resurrection from the dead, of judgment, of future bliss and everlasting torments, either in their family circle or amongst men of the world, but often spend their time in futile conversations, games, and occupations! This is, again, because they are ashamed to converse upon such subjects, being afraid to weary others, or fearing that they themselves may not be able to converse heartily upon spiritual subjects. O, adulterous and sinful world! Woe unto thee at the day of judgment by the universal and impartial Judge. "He came unto His own, and His own received Him not."407407St. John i. 11. Yes, the Lord and Creator of all is not received by us! He is not received into our houses, nor into our conversations; or, else, when a man reads a religious book or prayers aloud, why does he sometimes do so as if against his will, reluctantly, his tongue hesitating? His mouth speaketh not out of the abundance of the heart, but out of straitness and emptiness it can scarcely speak at all. Why is this so? It proceeds from the neglect of reading books and of prayer, and from false shame sown in the heart by the Devil. What miserable creatures we men are! We are ashamed of that which ought to be regarded as the highest honour. O, ungrateful and evil-natured creatures! What torments do we not deserve for such conduct.

When the enemy does not succeed in hindering the Christian upon the path of salvation by means of afflictions, oppression, poverty and various other privations, maladies, misfortunes, then he rushes to the other extreme: he fights against him by his own health, tranquillity, softness, the weakness of his heart, the insensibility of his soul to spiritual blessings, or by the opulence of his outer life. O, how dangerous is this last condition! It is more dangerous than the first state--the state of affliction, oppression, of sickness, etc. In such a state we easily forget God; we cease to feel His mercies; we slumber and spiritually sleep. "While the Bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made: Behold, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet Him."408408St. Matthew xxv. 5, 6. But in affliction we involuntarily turn to God to be saved; we constantly feel that God is the God of our salvation--"the God 174 Who saves"—that He is our life, our breath, our light, our strength. Thus, it is better for the Christian to live in some or other kind of affliction.

Prayer is—spiritual breathing; when we pray we breathe in the Holy Ghost; "praying in the Holy Ghost."409409Jude i. 20. Thus, all church prayers are—the breathing of the Holy Ghost; as it were spiritual air and also light, spiritual fire, spiritual food and spiritual raiment.

Holy Ghost, all we Christians are—Thy breath, Thy birth after baptism; by Thy first creative breathing into the person of the first man, we, all races of the earth, are—Thy breath, Thy birth! Have mercy upon us, raise us up, Holy Ghost! Drive away from us by Thy breathing the stench of our sins and passions, and uproot all our sinful inclinations!

During prayer always firmly believe and remember that every thought and word of yours may, undoubtedly, become deeds. "For with God nothing shall be impossible."410410St. Luke i. 37. "But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit."4114111 Corinthians vi. 17. This signifies that even your words shall not be without power. "All things are possible to him that believeth."412412St. Mark ix. 23. Take heed of your words; the word is precious. " Every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment"413413St. Matthew xii. 36.

The Word is the expression of the truth; the truth itself, being and deed. The Word precedes every being, every thing, as the cause of their being—past, present, or future. " I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, Which is, and Which was, and Which is to come, the Almighty."414414Revelation i. 8. Thus speaks the creative Word of the Father. In Him—in the Word—is the cause of all creatures—present, past, and future.

Why do we honour the cross with such reverence that we make mention of its power in our prayers after asking for the intercession of the Mother of God and the heavenly Powers, before asking for that of the Saints, and sometimes even before asking for that of the heavenly Powers? Because, after the Saviour's sufferings, the cross became the sign of the Son of man, that is, the cross signifies the Lord Himself, incarnate and suffering for our salvation. On the cross Christ offered Himself as a sacrifice to God the Father for our sins on the cross, and by it, He has saved us from the works of the enemy; and this is why we honour it with such great reverence. And therefore it will 175 always be a great power for believers, delivering them from every evil, and especially from the evil action of invisible enemies.

As light, air, and water are found together and mutually penetrate each other and, at the same time, do not intermingle, each of them remaining what it was before; the light--remaining light, the air--air, and the water--water, each entirely preserving its own particular properties, but the substance forming one matter, so also, in a somewhat similar manner, the Persons of the Most Divine Trinity are always found together, and are not separated from each other. The Father is in the Son, and the Son in the Father, whilst the Holy Ghost proceedeth from the Father and resteth in the Son. But at the same time each Person has Its own particular properties: God the Father is not begotten, not created, does not proceed; the Son is begotten; the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father, whilst the substance of the three Persons is one, a Divine, incomplex substance. This similarity is based upon the words of our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, Who calls Himself the Light of the world, and thus speaks of the Holy Ghost, comparing It in Its actions to the element water: " He that believeth on Me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. But this spake He of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive."415415St. John vii. 38, 39. He also compared the Holy Ghost to the air or wind: "The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit."416416St. John iii. 8. The Holy Church sings of the Holy Ghost: "To the Holy Ghost belongs every all-saving cause: on whomsoever He, through worthiness doth breathe, He quickly taketh him from earthly things."417417From the Burial Service of a Priest.

It is the same to the Lord to give flesh to any creature He likes, either to an animal or a plant, as it would be to me to make a garment or clothing and put it on myself: " Thou hast clothed me with skin and flesh, and hast fenced me with bones and sinews."418418Job x. 11. And what an infinite multitude and variety of material the Lord has, out of which He, the Creator, creates various clothing, of various shapes for His creatures (animals, birds, fishes, reptiles, insects)! And us He will eventually clothe with light, like unto of the sun in his kingdom! " Upon thy right hand did stand the queen in a vesture of gold."419419Psalm xlv. 9. "Then shall the righteous shine forth, as the sun in the kingdom of their Father."420420St. Matthew xiii. 43. And now we are clothed with the earth, water, air, warmth--such is our present clothing. And how 176 wisely and conveniently all these elements are made and brought into union in our being! It is not heavy, and it is comely. O, Most-wise and Almighty Artist! Life-giving Artist! How beautiful, suitable, and animate is everything that Thou hast created! At Thy Will even the dust is animate, the dust moves!

The chief thing in prayer for which we must care above all is--lively, clear-sighted faith in the Lord: represent Him vividly before yourself and within you--then ask of Jesus Christ in the Holy Ghost whatever you desire and you will obtain it. Ask simply, without the slightest doubt--then your God will be everything to you, accomplishing in an instant great and wonderful acts, as the sign of cross, accomplishes great wonders. Ask for both spiritual and material blessings not only for yourself, but for all believers, for the whole body of the Church, not separating yourself from other believers, but in spiritual union with them, as a member of the one great body of the Church of Christ, and loving all, as your brethren or children in Christ, as the case may be. The heavenly Father will fill you with the great peace and boldness.

When praying, pay steadfast attention to the words of the prayer, feeling them in your heart. Do not withdraw your mind from them to any other thoughts. When praying during Divine service, during the celebration of the Sacraments and the singing of the prayers and hymns upon various occasions, lay surely to your heart the words themselves of the church prayers, believing, that not a single word is placed there in vain, that every one of them has its power, that in each word dwells the Holy Trinity the Lord Himself, "Who is everywhere present and fills all things": think thus:--I myself am nothing, the Lord does everything. Also think: when I speak--God the Word, speaks in me. I need be careful for nothing." Casting all your care," it is said, "upon Him, for He careth for you." 4214211 Peter v. 7

When you read a worldly magazine or newspaper, it is light and agreeable reading, you easily believe in everything in it. But if you take up a religious publication or book to read, especially one relating to church matters, or sometimes when you begin reading prayers--you feel a weight upon your heart, you are tormented by doubt and unbelief, and experience a sort of darkness and aversion. Many acknowledge this. From what does it proceed? Of course, not from the nature of the books themselves, but from the nature of the readers, from the nature of their hearts, and--chiefly--from the Devil, the enemy of mankind, the enemy of everything 177 holy: "he taketh away the word out of their hearts."422422St. Luke viii. 12. When we read worldly books, we do not touch him, and he does not touch us. But as soon as we take up religious books, as soon as we begin to think of our amendment and salvation, then we go against him, we irritate and torment him, and therefore he attacks us and torments us on his side. What can we do? We must not throw aside the good work, the reading or prayers that are profitable to our souls, but we must patiently endure, and in patience save our souls. "In your patience possess ye your souls,"423423St. Luke xxi. 19. says the Lord. The same applies to theatres and churches, to the stage and Divine service. Many people find it pleasant to go to the theatre, and oppressive and dull to go to church. Wherefore? Because in the theatre everything is well suited to please the sensual man, and when we are there we do not provoke the Devil, but please him, and he, on his side, affords us pleasure, and does not touch us. Make merry, my friends, thinks he--laugh, only do not remember God. Whilst in the church everything is adapted to arouse faith and the fear of God, pious feelings, the feeling of our sinfulness and corruption; and the Devil sows in our hearts doubt, weariness, despondency, evil, impure and blasphemous thoughts--so that the man is not glad in himself, and cannot stand for even an hour, and he gets away as quickly as possible. The theatre and the church--are opposite contrasts. The one is the temple of the world, and the other the temple of God; the one is the temple of the Devil, and the other--the temple of the Lord.

When you are asked to pray that someone may be saved from bodily death, for instance, from drowning, from death through any sickness, from fire, or from any other disaster, commend the faith of those who ask you to do so, and say in yourself: Blessed be your faith, according to your faith may the Lord fulfil my unworthy, feeble prayer, and may He increase my faith.

You easily forgive yourself, if you have sinned against God, or against men; accordingly easily forgive other people too. Love your neighbour as yourself, forgive him much. "How oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven,"424424St. Matthew xviii. 21, 22. said the Lord. By this love is known. Even this is little for love to do: love loves its enemies, does good to them which hate it, blesses them that curse it, and prays for them which despitefully use it.425425St. Luke vi. 27, 28.

178

The Lord, unto Whom all hearts are open, knowing our avarice and trivial, covetous calculation in those cases, when we have to show hospitality and kindness to people, from whom we do not expect to receive the equivalent,--has promised to remunerate us in the day of judgment, not only for having given food to the hungry, drink to the thirsty, for having visited the sick and those in prison, but He has promised a reward even for a cup of cold water, given to a Christian or to an unbeliever in His name. "Whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only, .... verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward."426426St. Matthew x. 42. O, the loving-kindness, and mercy of Christ! Who, after this, will not be ashamed of the hardness of his heart, and his shameful avarice!

The Devil, as a spirit, as an incomplex being, can hinder and wound the soul by a single instantaneous movement of the thought of wickedness, of doubt, blasphemy, impatience, irritation, malice, by an instantaneous movement of any attachment of the heart to anything earthly, by a movement of intuitive sight, adultery and other passions--he can fan the spark of sin, with the cunning and malice peculiar to him, into a flame, raging with infernal strength within the man. We must stand fast and strengthen ourselves by every means in God's truth, rejecting the lies, illusions, and malice of the Devil, at their very beginning. In such cases, the man should be all watchfulness, all eyes, hard as adamant, invincible in every part, firm and invulnerable. O, Glory, glory to Thy victory, Lord! Thus may I conquer, by the power of Thy might, the invisible and visible enemies, all the days of my life, until my last breath. Amen. O, simplicity of faith, do not leave me.

Do not have any partiality, not only either for food and drink, for dress, for a spacious and richly decorated dwelling, for the luxurious furniture of your house, but not even for your health, do not even have the least partiality for your life, give up all your life to the Will of the Lord, saying: "for, to me to live--is Christ and to die--is gain."427427Philippians i. 21. "He that hateth his life in this world, shall keep it unto life eternal."428428St. John xii. 25. Attachment to the temporary life, to one's own health, leads to many deviations from God's Commandments, to the indulgence of the flesh, to breaking the fasts, to evading the conscientious fulfilment of the duties connected with our service, to despondency, impatience, irritability. Never sleep before saying evening-prayers, lest your heart should become 179 gross from ill-timed sleep, and lest the enemy should hinder it by a stony insensibility during prayer. "Be sober, be vigilant."4294291 Peter v. 8. "Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation."430430St. Matthew xxv. 13. "Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of Man cometh."431431St. Matthew xxv. 13. "Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cock-crowing, or in the morning: lest coming suddenly He find you sleeping. And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch." 432432St. Mark xiii. 35, 37.

Pray, my brethren, to the Mother of God when the storm of enmity and malice bursts forth in your house. She, Who is all-merciful and all-powerful, can easily pacify the hearts of men. Peace and love proceed from the one God, as from their Source, and Our Lady—in God, as the Mother of Christ the Peace, is zealous, and prays for the peace of the whole world, and above all—of all Christians. She has the all-merciful power of driving away from us at Her sign the sub-celestial spirits of evil—those ever-vigilant and ardent sowers of enmity and malice amongst men, whilst to all who have recourse with faith and love to Her powerful protection, She soon speedily gives both peace and love. Be zealous yourselves also in preserving faith and love in your hearts; for if you do not care for this, then you will be unworthy of the intercession for you—of the Mother of God; be also most fervent and most reverent worshippers of the Mother of the Almighty Lord; for it is truly meet to bless Her—the ever-blessed; the entirely spotless Mother of our God, the highest of all creatures, the Mediatrix for the whole race of mankind. Strive to train yourself in the spirit of humility, for She Herself was more humble than any mortal, and only looks lovingly upon the humble." He hath regarded the low estate of His handmaiden" (said She to Elisabeth), of "God, Her Saviour."433433St. Luke i. 47, 48.

Do not let the Devil sow enmity and malice in your heart against your neighbour; do not let these feelings nestle in any way in your heart; otherwise your malice, even if not expressed in words, but shown only in your glance, may infect through sight the soul of your brother also (for nothing is so infectious as malice, it easily infects especially those who have in their hearts an abundance of unslumbering malice), and fans the spark of evil in them into a whole flame. Be watchful: "with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again."434434St. Matthew vii. 2. "For, nothing is secret, that shall not be 180 made manifest; neither anything hid, that shall not be known and come abroad."435435St. Luke viii. 17.

Cultivate the Christian art of doing good, of heartily blessing those who curse you, by which you will please your Lord Christ, Who said: "Bless them that curse you. Love your enemies" sincerely, not regarding their enmity—but respecting in them the image of God, according to which they are created, and seeing in them your own self. "Do good to them which hate you," as the Son of the heavenly Father, Who is kind even "unto the unthankful and to the evil," believing that you will overcome evil with good, because good is always more powerful than evil. " Pray for them which despitefully use you," so that through your prayer you may save them also, by God's grace, from the evil malice and the snares of the Devil, and save yourself too from misfortune. "Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again,"436436St. Luke vi. 27, 35, 28, 30. for everything comes from God, and, should the Lord will, He can take everything away from you. Remember, that you yourself have come naked out of your mother's womb, and naked shall you return thither,437437Job i. 21. and shall not take anything away with you. If you will thus live, you will gain for yourself the priceless treasure of peace and love, and shall live long on the earth: for "the meek-spirited," it is said, "shall possess the earth: and shall be refreshed in the multitude of peace."438438Psalm xxxvii. 11; St. Matthew v. 5.

I look to Thee alone, Lord, with my spiritual vision. I believe in Thee undoubtingly. Thou Thyself knowest how and what to give me. Thou art—the treasury of every blessing, Thou art—mercy, wisdom, and omnipotence abundantly flowing upon all creatures. Thus I also look to Thee, O Holy Virgin. " Intercede for and have mercy upon me Thyself!"

Do not grow despondent and enfeebled in spirit, seeing the constant struggle within you of evil against good, but like a good and valiant soldier of Jesus Christ, our great Founder, struggle courageously against evil, looking at the crown, prepared by the Lord for all who conquer evil in this world and in their flesh." To him that overcometh, will I grant to sit with Me in My Throne."439439Revelation iii. 21.

In order not to remember the malice of your neighbour against you, but to pardon him with all your soul, remember, 181 that you, yourself, are not free from malice, as well as from all other passions. Recognise your neighbour's infirmities and passions as your own: "forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."440440Ephesians iv. 32. O, how sinful I am, how loathsome I am by my sins in the eyes of God, of men, and even in mine own! Who can be more loathsome to me than myself? Truly nobody; in comparison to me all are righteous. I must be unmercifully angry with myself, and must consider it a special happiness to forgive my neighbour's trespasses and offences against me, an unworthy one, so that the long-suffering, bountiful, and merciful Lord may forgive me even some of my trespasses. I must remember, that it is only by this that I can become deserving of the Lord's mercy to me, otherwise I ought long to have ceased to live.

O, how full of misery, of difficulties, and how grievous is this earthly life! From morning till night, daily, we must carry on a grievous warfare against the carnal passions, fighting against our soul, against "principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places,"441441Ephesians vi. 12. whose craft and subtlety are immeasurably evil, infernally artful, indefatigable! O, Sweetest Saviour, Thou Who calleth unto Thyself all those who labour and are heavy-laden—to give them rest! Thou seest: our heart and bosom are wasted from this daily struggle and affliction, we are unnerved, weakened, we walk like shadows. Our evil enemies continually vex our souls, and endeavour by every means to draw us into the abyss of despair. Stretch forth, Master, Thy mighty right hand, and deliver us from the snares of the dragon of olden time, the murderer of men. "If any man will come after Me, said the Lord, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me."442442St. Luke ix. 22. But who is the daily cause of our cross, our afflictions and distresses? The old carnal man, and the Devil with his continual snares.

To look unto the Lord during the struggle against any passion, or after having committed any sin and repented of it, gives peace to our doubting hearts, and a wonderful brightness to our countenance." Thou hast put gladness in my heart; Lord, lift Thou up the light of Thy countenance upon us."443443Psalm iv. 6, 7. O, how bright does our countenance become when we look upon the God of our hearts by the exertion of our faith, with our spiritual vision! Truly, then the Lord Himself is with us, as He said: "Call upon Me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee."444444Psalm 1. 15. "I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him 182 and honour him."445445Psalm xci. 15. O, Thou most-bountiful and long-suffering God, Thou Who art ready to pardon unto seventy times seven the sins and transgressions of all those who heartily repent and ask Thy forgiveness—have mercy upon us, who every hour offend many times against Thee. Amen.

What infinite nothingness our food and drink represent on the one side, and what infinite grandeur the man himself who is fed by them represents on the other side! Is it not the greatest insanity for man, for his image of God, for this partaker of the divine nature, for whom God may be all—"God may be all in all"4464461 Corinthians xv. 28. --to grudge food, drink, clothing, dwelling, and anything else earthly! Let the dust be dust—but let the immortal image of the immortal God be always exalted and preferred before everything earthly, corruptible and transitory! Therefore, do not let us be sparing of anything for our neighbour! O, what a great honour it is—to feed, to clothe, to give rest to the image of God! Most-gracious and Most-bountiful God! fill our hearts with mercy and bountifulness!

God's saints had "the eyes of their understanding enlightened,"447447Ephesians i. 18. and with these eyes they clearly saw the wants of our sin-corrupted nature; clearly saw for what we should pray, for what we should ask, for what we should give thanks, how we should praise the Lord, and they left us the most perfect examples of prayers of various kinds. O, how beautiful these prayers are! Sometimes we do not feel and do not know their value, whilst we well know the value of food and drink, of fashionable attire, of well-furnished rooms, of theatres, of music, of worldly literature, especially of novels, that fluent, empty mass of words --and, alas! we trample under feet the precious pearls of prayer; and whilst everything worldly finds a welcome, wide shelter in the hearts of most people, prayer --alas! --does not find even a narrow corner in them, cannot get into them. And when it begs us to let it in, it is thrust out like a mendicant, like the man who had not a wedding garment.

Rejoice at every opportunity of showing kindness to your neighbour as a true Christian who strives to store up as many good works as possible, especially the treasures of love. Do not rejoice when others show you kindness and love --consider yourself unworthy of it; but rejoice when an occasion presents itself for you to show love. Show love simply, without any deviation into cunning thoughts, without any trivial, worldly, covetous calculations, remembering that love is God Himself. Remember that He sees all your ways, sees all the thoughts and movements of your heart.

183

Do not let pass any opportunity for praying for any man, either at his request or at the request of his relatives, friends, of those who esteem him, or of his acquaintances. The Lord looks favourably upon the prayer of our love, and upon our boldness before him. Besides this, prayer for others is very beneficial to the man himself who prays for others; it purifies the heart, strengthens faith and hope in God, and enkindles our love for God and our neighbour. When praying, say thus:" Lord, it is possible for Thee to do this or that to this servant of Thine; do this for him, for Thy name is the Merciful Lover of Men and the Almighty." "If ye, then, being evil, know how to give good gifts [not only] unto your children [but also to strangers], how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give all possible good things to them that ask Him!"448448St. Matthew vii. 11.

Glory to Thee, Lord, our Father, most wise prover of my love for Thee and my neighbour! Do not leave me without the temptations which are necessary and beneficial in accordance with Thy wisdom and truth, not for a single day of my life. May they confirm, strengthen, and increase my love for Thee and my neighbour, and may I not appear poor and empty before Thy face at the day of Thy judgment!

If I, a weak man, when I wish to do anything within the limits of my capability am able to do it (for instance, if I wish to write a book, I write it; if I wish to cure an illness, I cure it; if I wish to make anything, I make it—for instance, if I want to build a house or a church, I build such a house or church; or if I say to another man, "Come," and he comes; "Go," and he goes; "Do this" and he does it) then cannot God, the Almighty, do everything that He may desire? "As for our God, He is in heaven; He hath done whatsoever pleased Him."449449Psalm cxv. 3. If sometimes a man only says two words, that something shall be, and it really comes to pass—though, perhaps, not at once, but after a certain time—then will not everything be done at once that is commanded by the word of the Creator? Will not everything that He desires be done at once at a single word from Him? "For He spake the word, and they were made; He commanded, and they were created."450450Psalm cxlviii. 5. We are not creators of men, yet they do so much at our word; we are not creators of things, yet, in accordance with our wishes and acts, they take thousands of shapes and serve for our innumerable requirements and pleasures. We do not create matter, but we create both great and small objects from matter. Cannot, 184 therefore, the Creator, Who is everywhere present, and fills all things, at Whose word all things came from non-existence into being, by Whose thought, by Whose will, and by Whose word all the infinite varieties of things were created and exist, create anything He desires? If a human physician can sometimes bring back to life a half-dead person by means of the knowledge of his profession, and skilful, well-directed action upon the cause of the illness, cannot, therefore, the Creator of physicians and of the science of healing cure, at His single wish and word, every illness? Cannot the Creator even raise the dead at His single word? Let us render glory to Him, we of little faith, and let us say to Him from our hearts: "All things are possible unto Thee, Lord, and nothing is impossible to Thee. Amen."

O Thou Almighty Sovereign, to Whose single sign all things, the whole visible and invisible world, are obedient, grant that I may unceasingly glorify Thee by the simplicity of my faith in Thine infinite power. Give me the faith that will not be ashamed, firm hope, and unfeigned love for Thee and my neighbour.

" He [God] is before all things, and by Him all things consist."451451Colossians i. 17. A great, immeasurable meaning is contained in these words. They explain the name of " I Am that I Am," by which name the Lord named Himself to Moses. For "I Am" signifies Him Who exists before all things, and by Whom all things exist. These words show the infinite omnipotence and grace and the immeasurable wisdom of the Lord our God. "Great is our Lord, and great is His power, and His wisdom is infinite."452452Psalm cxivii. 5.

If, being in an assemblage of men, you call a person known to you, and he comes to you; if you ask one or many men subservient to you to do anything for you within the limit of his or their capability, and they fulfil your request, satisfying it according to your desire, and even beyond your desire, then be assured that, likewise, in God's Church, in that great house of God divided into two halves --the heavenly and the earthly—any of the members of the Church in Heaven whom you call upon will come to your spiritual help conformably to his grace and the abundance of his love. Ask him to do anything for you that you please, especially anything relating to the Kingdom and righteousness of God, and he will do it through his close association with God, the Source of grace and power. God's saints also hear you --as, for instance, the whole congregation 185 hears you when you pray or speak the Word—for they are in the Holy Ghost, and the Spirit is everywhere present, and tills all things.

Our self-love and pride manifest themselves especially in impatience and irritability when some of us cannot bear the slightest unpleasantness intentionally, or even unintentionally, caused us by others; or obstacles lawfully or unlawfully, intentionally or unintentionally, opposed to us by men, or caused by the objects surrounding us. Our self-love and pride would like everything to be as we wish, that we should be surrounded by every honour and comfort of this temporal life; would like all men, and even—how far is pride carried!—all nature itself, to speedily and silently obey a sign from us; whilst, alas! we ourselves are very slow to faith and to every good work—slow to please the one Master of all. Christian! you must absolutely be humble, meek, and long-suffering, remembering that you are clay, dust, nothingness; that you are impure; that everything good that you have is from God; that your life, your breath and everything you possess are God's gifts; that for your sins of disobedience and intemperance you ought now to redeem your future blessedness in Paradise by the long-suffering which is indispensable in this world of imperfections and innumerable transgressions of the fallen men living together with us, and forming the numerous members of the one sin-sullied human race." Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ."453453Galatians vi. 2. He who is impatient and irritable does not know himself and the human race, and is unworthy of the name of Christian. In saying this, I pronounce judgment against myself, for I am the first of those who are afflicted with impatience and irritability.

Our life is children's play, only not innocent, but sinful, because, with a strong mind, and with the knowledge of the purpose of our life, we neglect this purpose and occupy ourselves with frivolous, purposeless matters. And thus our life is childish, unpardonable play. We amuse ourselves with food and drink, gratifying ourselves by them, instead of only using them for the necessary nourishment of our body and the support of our bodily life. We amuse ourselves with dress, instead of only decently covering our body and protecting it from the injurious action of the elements. We amuse ourselves with silver and gold, admiring them in treasuries, or using them for objects of luxury and pleasure, instead of using them only for our real needs, and sharing our superfluity with those in want. We amuse ourselves with our houses and the variety 186 of furniture in them, decorating them richly and exquisitely, instead of merely having a secure and decent roof to protect us from the injurious action of the elements, and things necessary and suitable for domestic use. We amuse ourselves with our mental gifts, with our intellect, imagination, using them only to serve sin and the vanity of this world—that is, only to serve earthly and corruptible things—instead of using them before all and above all to serve God, to learn to know Him, the all-wise Creator of every creature, for prayer, supplication, petitions, thanksgiving and praise to Him, and to show mutual love and respect, and only partly to serve this world, which will some day entirely pass away. We amuse ourselves with our knowledge of worldly vanity, and to acquire this knowledge we waste most precious time, which was given to us for our preparation for eternity. We frequently amuse ourselves with our affairs and business, with our duties, fulfilling them heedlessly, carelessly, and wrongfully, and using them for our own covetous, earthly purposes. We amuse ourselves with beautiful human faces, or the fair, weaker sex, and often use them for the sport of our passions. We amuse ourselves with time, which ought to be wisely utilised for redeeming eternity, and not for games and various pleasures. Finally, we amuse ourselves with our own selves, making idols out of ourselves, before which we bow down, and before which we expect others to bow down. Who can sufficiently describe and deplore our accursedness, our great, enormous vanity, the great misery into which we voluntarily throw ourselves? What answer shall we give to our immortal King, Christ our God, Who shall come again in the glory of His Father to judge both the quick and the dead, to declare the secret thoughts of all hearts, and receive from us our answer for every word and deed. O, woe, woe, woe to us who bear the name of Christ, but have none of the spirit of Christ in us; who bear the name of Christ, but do not follow the teaching of the Gospel! Woe to us who "neglect so great salvation"!454454Hebrews ii. 3. Woe to us who love the present fleeting, deceptive life, and neglect the inheritance of the life that follows after the death of our corruptible body beyond this carnal veil!

One of the infirmities of the human spirit is its slowness to faith and its slothfulness in acquiring a knowledge of the truth, especially of the truths of faith and piety. What do youths, and even grown-up and elder people, study most inertly and slothfully? The truths of faith and piety. This is proved by innumerable experiences.

187

In order that men should esteem and love each other, should not be proud, should not be arrogant to each other, the most wise Lord has given to different men different natural and beneficial advantages, so that they may have need of each other. In this manner each one of us must involuntarily acknowledge this or that infirmity and humble himself before God and men.

Lord, Thou Thyself hast said by Thy most pure lips: "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."455455St. Matthew v. 48. I long to be perfect. Be Thou therefore every perfection for me, for Thou hast also said: "For without Me ye can do nothing." 4564562 St John xv. 5.

All prayers assume the great poverty and misery of our fallen nature; they also assume that the Lord is the ever flowing source of every perfection, every blessing; that He is our inexhaustible treasury. Truly, we must have poverty of spirit during prayer and at all times. " Blessed are the poor in spirit."457457St. Matthew v. 3.

Consider how great is man: "God dwelleth in him, and he in God;"4584581 John iv. 15. so that in a pious Christian it is as though not a man but Christ Himself lives. "Nevertheless, I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me;"459459Galatians ii. 20. because the whole soul becomes Christ's, as iron in a furnace itself becomes fiery like a burning coal: it is all fire, all light, all warmth.

Preserve a meek and peaceable disposition towards your brother, even when he cunningly or artfully, or somehow unintentionally deprives you of all you possess. Show then that you love God's image in him more than anything earthly and perishable, that your "charity never faileth."460460Corinthians xiii. 8. "Of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again."461461St. Luke vi. 30. "And if any man will sue thee at the law and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also."462462St. Matthew v. 40. Do not let the enemy shame you for laying your hopes upon such earthly dust as money and food, more than upon God, but shame him himself by your firm trust in God and in His Holy Word. For "man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." 463463St. Matthew iv. 4. Mark; "by every word." For every word of the Lord Creator can support your life, just as every word can create and transform thousands of creatures. "For He spake and it was done; He commanded and it stood fast."464464Psalm xxxii 9. Thus at His word He brought 188 from non-existence into being the myriads of the immortal heavenly hosts, and having sanctified them by the Holy Ghost, strengthens and supports them in their being. Do not foolishly lower the dignity of your immortal spirit by vainly trusting in earthly dust. Say, "My trust is in God," or "The Father is my trust, the Son is my refuge, the Holy Ghost is my protection. O, Holy Trinity, glory to Thee!"465465Prayer of St. Johannices, from the Evening Prayers of the Russian Church.And yet how many of us become irritated and lose their temper when they are deprived, not of their last coin, but only of some small part of by no means their last property! How much agitation, anger, bile, bitter reproaches, murmuring, sometimes even curses! Righteous God! can this dross called money, or this food and drink produce such storms in our Christian souls, in us who know the words of our sweetest Saviour? "Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body what ye shall put on. Behold the birds of the air, they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your Heavenly Father feedeth them. But seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you."466466St. Matthew vi. 25, 26, 33. Or: " A man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth."467467St. Luke xii. 15. My God! to what have we come? In what are we better than heathens in our mode of life? Where is our faith, our trust in God, our love for our neighbour? O, pride of Satan! O, what shame is ours! Heavenly Father! Thou who knowest what things we have need of, and givest them to us before we ask Thee, 468468St. Matthew vi. 8. have mercy upon us unfaithful, ungrateful, and evil-natured ones. Lord, we hear Thy merciful words: " I will never leave thee nor forsake thee;"469469Hebrews xiii. 5. but being daily tempted by earthly blessings, we do not heed them, and transgress Thy will.

Do not fear bodily privations, but fear spiritual privations. Do not fear, do not be faint-hearted, do not be irritated when you are deprived of money, food, drink, enjoyments, clothes, dwelling, even of your body itself; but fear when the enemy deprives your soul of faith, of trust, and love for God and your neighbour; when he sows hatred, enmity, attachment to earthly things, pride, and other sins in your heart. " Fear not them [men] which, will kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul."470470St. Matthew x. 28.

"But Thou art the same, and Thy years shall have no end,"471471Psalm cii. 27. is said of the unchangeableness of God. O, if you, men, were always the same—to-day, to-morrow, the day after to-morrow 189 and so on—and if you did not change in a thousand ways like a kaleidoscope! O, if you too were always equally peaceful, kind, simple, amiable, patient, industrious, benevolent, and generous! But you can be such if by hearty faith and love you unite yourself to the Unchangeable. "For I am the Lord, I change not."472472Malachi iii. 6. "I preserve My servants from falling into evil, for I am the source of mercy, benefiting those who serve Me worthily."473473Canon of the Archangel

Peace is the integrity and health of the soul; to lose peace is to lose spiritual health.

Reverence with all the powers of your soul all the sacraments, and say to yourself in respect to every sacrament before the celebration or the communion of it: " This is God's mystery. I myself am only the unworthy witness or partaker of it." Otherwise, our proud intellect even wishes to search out God's mystery, and, if unable to penetrate it, rejects it as not coming under the small measure of our intellect.

If a single word of an earthly king causes great deeds to come to pass in his kingdom—he speaks and the work begins and is accomplished—then will not the word of the Lord of all material and spiritual, visible and invisible creatures, accomplish everything He desires? Shall He speak and it not be created? Shall he speak and it not be done? O, Almighty Power, able to accomplish everything in one single moment, do not leave us on account of our sins, and above all on account of our incredulity and despair, to be tormented by our own infirmities, lest we be destroyed like earthen vessels. Grant that we may believe with all our hearts in Thine Almighty Power; that we may not doubt in the fulfilment of our every right request.

All visible nature, all its parts, great and small, down to the very smallest, at every instant remind us that everything has proceeded from the Lord, and exists and moves by Him—that everything is or comes into being through Him, and at each moment obeys Him.

O, how low has our nature fallen through our passion for eating! O, thrice accursed Satan, who has precipitated us, and still precipitates us, through food, into thousands of evils! O, food and drink, that so powerfully tempt us! How long shall we be allured by you and place our life in you? When shall we engrave deeply upon our hearts the Saviour's words: 190 "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God,"474474St. Matthew iv. 4. and bring these words into our life and actions? How long will our greediness, self-indulgence, surfeiting, and drunkenness continue? How long will our abominable avarice and love of money continue? How long will our pride, animosity and malice against our neighbour, through money, dress, houses, food, and drink last? Thousands of Satan's deceits, by means of food, dress, and money, disclose themselves to our spiritual vision, and yet we still continue to be allured by his enticements as though by something real, useful to us, whilst in fact we are caring for neither more nor less than destructive illusions, and for that which is most pernicious both spiritually and bodily to our own selves. Do not believe, brethren, in the enemy's enticements, not for one single moment, when the matter concerns food and drink, however plausible they may apparently be. "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."475475St. Matthew vi. 33. "I spake not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees, which is hypocrisy,"476476St. Matthew xvi. 11; St. Luke xii. 1. in matters of faith and piety. Pay the utmost attention to faith and piety. "Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you."477477St. John vi. 27. Give away even the last that you have, if there is need of it, remembering the words of the Saviour: "If any man will sue thee at the law and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also"478478St. Matthew v. 40.—that is, give away the last that you have.

"After their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears."4794792 Timothy iv. 3. Is not this what men of the world, and even many of the clergy are now doing? Do they not choose for themselves teachers that flatter their hearing? They do not learn of the one Teacher - Christ, from His Gospel and His Church; but they learn of worldly journalists, novelists, poets, actors, and exclaim: " Ah, how interesting all this is—how instructive it all is! " and say, if not in words, then by their deeds: "We have no need of either the Gospel or the Church, with its services, its sacraments, and preaching of God's Word. We have such good, such most moral teachers." Lord Jesus! To what have we come! They have cast Thy words behind them.480480Psalms 1. 17.

Do not be despondent and do not fall into despair when you feel within your soul the deadly breath and ferment of malice and evil, impatience and blasphemy, or any weakness from 191 impure thoughts; but fight against them unremittingly and endure valiantly, calling with all your heart upon the Lord Jesus—the Conqueror of hell. Humble yourself deeply, deeply, acknowledging yourself from the depths of your soul as the first of sinners, unworthy of human fellowship, and the Lord, seeing your humility and your struggle, will help you. Call also to your help the speedy Mediatrix, the Most Holy Virgin, the Mother of God, saying: " Heal, most pure Lady, the many painful wounds of my soul, and strike the enemies constantly fighting against me."481481Canon to the Guardian Angel.

If you truly call God your Father, then trust in Him as in the one Father, most merciful, Almighty, most wise, unchangeable in His love and in His perfections. Trust in Him in respect to the blessings of this temporal life, but especially in respect to granting you future blessings in Christ Jesus. Engrave deeply on your heart the words: "God is my Father. Our Father, which art in heaven." But as through the love of the heavenly Father for you, you yourself have become the child of God, as having come forth from Him, as possessing reason and free will, you ought, on your part, to use all your efforts to attain the blessed and eternal heavenly inheritance; you ought to know and always remember that you are a fallen being. And as you fell possessing reason and freedom—fell by your own will—then by that same reason, which is enlightened by the light of the word of God and the divine light of the Holy Ghost, by that same free will, strengthened by the grace of the Holy Ghost in Christ Jesus, rise up from your fall and go forward without stopping towards the heavenly, endless life, despising all earthly things as perishable and quickly passing away, and especially not attaching yourself to silver and gold, to food and drink, through which such a depth of evil has fallen upon all the human race.

Thank our most speedy Mediatrix, our Lady, the Mother of our Lord, the most pure, most good Virgin Mary, for saving us through our fervent prayers from the harassments and oppression of the Devil. Look up to Her, with the eyes of your heart, in the Holy Ghost, who is everywhere present, fills everything, and who is incomplex. Look up at Her as being close to your very heart, and call upon Her: "Most speedy Lady Mediatrix, Mary, Mother of God, save me from the enemy—the disturber." And immediately, in an instant, She will save you according to the faith of your heart, according to your soul's trust in Her; and the oppression, the fire, and heavy despondency will fall aside and leave you. It is only necessary to represent to yourself and firmly believe that the Holy Ghost is everywhere, in every place; that He is an incomplex Being, that in Him all heaven is near us, as upon the 192 >palm of the hand, with all its angels and saints, so that we have only to call upon the Lord, or upon the Virgin Mother of God, or any saint from the depth of the heart, with clear-sighted faith, with heartfelt repentance for the sins by which we are bound by the enemy or by which we have bound voluntarily ourselves—and our salvation will immediately shine forth. Marvellous is the saving power of our Lady; it flows into the heart like a healing balsam, or like fragrant, life-giving air, or like calming water. Only look on Her with the eyes of your heart, trusting in Her mercy and help. But this, too, is difficult—to look on Her with heartfelt, clear-sighted faith—just as it is difficult to look on the Lord Jesus Christ or the saints; for the enemy endeavours by every means to stand like a hard, high, dark wall between our souls and the Lord, or the Mother of God, the angels and saints. The accursed one does not allow the eye of the heart to see the Lord or His saints; he darkens our heart in every way; he scatters faith, oppressing, burning, and darkening us inwardly. We must look upon all such actions as illusions and falsehood, and break through this imaginary wall to the Lord, or to His Holy Mother, or His saints. As soon as you break through this wall, you will immediately be saved. " Thy faith hath made thee whole."482482St. Matthew ix. 22.

Say inwardly, from your whole heart: " The Lord is everything to me; I myself am nothing; I am powerless, I am infirm." " For without Me ye can do nothing,"483483St. John xv. 5. says the Lord Himself, for it might be added: " I am everything to you." Be heartily convinced of this every moment of your life, and have recourse to the Lord absolutely in everything, trusting to obtain from Him everything necessary for your salvation, and even for this temporal life besides.

If the Holy Virgin, the Mother of God, through Her union with God, and through Her unprecedented service to the Lord of all, most speedily becomes everything to all those who ask with faith and love for Her intercession, delivering them from every evil, and bestowing upon them everything which leads to their salvation, in accordance with their prayer, then will not the Lord Himself do still more? Only do not be unbelieving; do not be cold to Him in your soul and insensible as a stone, but stir up within you your faith, your gratitude for God's benefits, the sincere recognition of your sins, and your great love for your Saviour, together with the Father and the Holy Ghost, Who loves you with an immeasurable love.

When praying to the Lord, to the Mother of God, or to the 193 saints, always remember that the Lord will give you according to your heart. He will "grant thee according to thine own heart."484484Psalm xx. 4. Whatever the heart is, such will be the gift. If you pray with faith, sincerely, with all your heart, not hypocritically, then a gift will be given you by the Lord in accordance with your faith, in accordance with the degree of the fervour of your heart. And, on the contrary, the colder your heart is, the more incredulous and hypocritical it is, the more useless will be your prayer; not only this, the more it will anger the Lord, Who is a Spirit, and seeks to be worshipped in spirit and in truth.485485St. John iv. 23, 24. Therefore, whether you call upon the Lord Himself, or His Mother, or the angels, or saints, call upon them with all your heart; whether you pray for anyone living or departed, pray for them with your whole heart, pronouncing their names with heartfelt fervour; whether you pray that any spiritual blessing may be granted you or anyone else, that you or anyone near to you may be delivered from any misfortune, or from sins, passions, or bad habits, pray for this with your whole heart, desiring for yourself or others with your whole heart the blessings you pray for, being firmly resolved to forsake, or desiring others to free themselves from sins, passions and sinful habits, and the Lord will grant you the gift according to your heart. "Ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you."486486St. John xv. 7. You see, therefore, that it is absolutely necessary to wish and long for that which you ask; for then only you will obtain it. "Pray one for another that ye may be healed."487487James v. 16.

Be kindly disposed in heart, word, and deed, ready at every time to serve others without the slightest vexation or irritability, remembering the words of the Saviour: "Whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant."488488St. Matthew xx. 26.

Firmly believe that the Lord is at all times everything to you. During prayer He is the power and the fulfilment in the Holy Ghost of each of your words. During pious conversation He is your living water, the ardent flow of your words at all times—He is everything to you. Be free from care in the presence of your Lord. He has enclosed you with Himself upon all sides. He penetrates you wholly and knows all your thoughts, all your needs and inclinations, and if you live in Him with faith and love, then no evil shall befall you. "The Lord is at hand; be careful for nothing."489489Philippians iv. 6.

God, Who alone is, Who is omnipresent, incomplex, can create or transform everything in a single instant, as it was with the wonders of Egypt. The Almighty can do all things.

194

3">Through masterful, or rather through mercenary pride and incomprehensible wickedness, we often do not deign to speak to those whom we feed and support, often behaving inimically to them, instead of rather humbling ourselves before them as their servants, in accordance with the words of the Lord. "Whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant,"490490St. Matthew xx. 26. so as to redouble our recompense of the Lord by sincerely and unfeignedly serving Him in the person of the least of His brethren. O, meek and humble-hearted Creator, Giver of Life, Redeemer, our Nourisher, and Preserver—Lord Jesus! teach us love, meekness, and humility through Thy Holy Spirit, and strengthen us in those virtues which are most pleasing to Thee, so that Thy rich gifts may not make our hearts proud, so that we may not deem that it is we ourselves who feed, provide, and support anyone. Thou art the universal Nourisher. Thou feedest, providest, supportest, and preservest all; under the wings of Thy mercy, bounty, and loving kindness all are provided for and are given rest—not under ours, for we ourselves have need of being covered with the shadow of Thy wings at every moment of our life. Our eyes are fixed upon Thee, our God, as "the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress: even so our eyes wait upon the Lord our God, until He have mercy upon us."491491Psalm cxxiii. 2. Amen.

Be firmly convinced that every word, especially those pronounced during prayer, is realisable, remembering that the author of the word is God the Word, that our God Himself, worshipped in the Holy Trinity, is expressed by the three words or names: The Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; that each word has a corresponding being, or that every word can become being and deed. Therefore reverence the word and value it. Remember that the Son of God, as the Personal Word of God, is always united with the Father and the Holy Ghost, in the same manner. as the Father, as the Supreme Wisdom, participates, by His omnipresence, His creative Word, and the Holy Ghost the Accomplisher in the words of Holy Scripture, or in the prayers or in the writings of the most wise Fathers. This is why no word is vain, but has or should have power in itself. Woe to those who speak idly, for they will have to answer for their idle speaking! "For with God nothing shall be impossible."492492St. Luke i. 37. Power and accomplishment are, in general, the properties of the word. Such should it also be in the mouths of men.

195

The Holy Ghost accomplishes all wonders and miracles. By the same Spirit power is given to one, and to another works of power. You have only to speak with faith, and need have no anxiety as to the fulfilment of the word; the Holy Ghost will care for this.

Believe firmly that you always think, feel, speak, move, and act in God—so to say, in His bosom: "Dwelleth in Me and I in him."493493St. John vi. 56. He has enclosed you upon all sides; He penetrates and knows you. "Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid Thine hand upon me,"494494Psalm cxxxix. 5. says the holy prophet and king David. The Mother of God, all the holy angels and all the saints are also in God. What is, therefore, nearer, who can, therefore, be more closely associated with believing Christians than the angels and saints? Therefore, call upon God Himself, the Lord of everything, as well as upon His saints, with faith, hope and love, asking them to intercede before God for you; ask the angels and saints to pray to God for you as you would ask living persons anything for yourself—standing face to face with them, firmly believing that they too stand face to face with your heart.

Always think that you are accursed, poor, needy, blind and naked without God, that God is everything to you: He is your righteousness, your sanctification, your riches, your raiment, your life, your breath—everything.

The Body and the Blood of Christ are pre-eminently body and blood, because in each smallest particle of the Body and the Blood rests the entire Christ-God, filling every part. It is not so in the human body. In the Body and the Blood of Christ every particle, every drop is Christ entire, ever indivisible, One and the Same.

What is mercy? Mercy is to love our enemies, to bless those who curse us, to do good to those who hate us, who do us harm, who drive us away, to defend those who are persecuted, and so on.

God is the most easily approachable and most communicative of Beings in His bounties to all His creatures, especially to reasonable beings. If air and light, owing to their rarity, move and communicate themselves easily to everything that is capable of absorbing or receiving them, then shall not the Lord of all things, the Omnipresent Spirit, All-merciful, Infinite, Almighty, move and communicate Himself infinitely more 196 easily than these inanimate, unintelligent material created things? O! how quickly the Lord helps all those who believe in Him and seek Him! "The wind bloweth where it listeth and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh and whither it goeth; so is every one that is born of the Spirit."495495St. John iii. 8. If human nature is communicative, then how much more so is God's nature? If a father and a mother give what is needful to their children, they being men, evil by nature, "then how much more shall your Father, Which is in heaven, give good things to them that ask Him!"496496St. Matthew vii. 11. "To do good and to communicate forget not."497497Hebrews xiii. 16.

If Christ is in you through the frequent communion of the Holy Sacrament, then be yourself wholly like unto Christ: meek, humble, long-suffering, full of love, without attachment to earthly things, meditating upon heavenly ones, obedient, reasonable. Have His spirit unfailingly within you. Do not be proud, impatient, partial to earthly things, avaricious, and covetous.

See God clearly with your spiritual vision, and when thus contemplating Him, ask of Him anything you wish, in the name of Jesus Christ, and it shall be given to you. In one single moment God will be everything to you, for He is an incomplex Being, above any time and space; and in the moments of your true faith, of your heartfelt union with Him, He will accomplish everything for you that is necessary for your own salvation, or for that of your neighbour, and you yourself will at that time be a participant of the divinity, through most sincere union with Him: "I have said ye are gods."498498Psalm lxxxii. 5. At such a time there is no interval between God and you, there will be no interval, either, between your word and the realisation of it: as soon as you speak it will be realised, just as God Himself "spake, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast."499499Psalm xxxiii. 9; cxlviii. 6. This is equally true both in regard to the sacraments, as in general in regard to spiritual prayer. Besides this, in the sacraments everything is accomplished for the sake of the grace of the priesthood with which the priest is invested, for the sake of the great High Priest Himself --Christ, Whose image the priest bears upon himself. Therefore, although some priests are even unworthy of their office, though they may have weaknesses, though they may be suspicious, incredulous, or distrustful, nevertheless God's Mystery is speedily accomplished, in the twinkling of an eye.

God the Father—acting in our mind and heart through His Personal Word (expressed in our word by the Holy Ghost, 197 resting in the Personal Word), and through our word of faith, trust, meekness, and love proceeding from our lips--accomplishes in an instant, once for all, the wonderful acts predetermined since the creation of the world, of our regeneration, sanctification, strengthening, spiritual, nourishment, and healing in Christ; although the preparatory rites for these actions are very prolonged, for God is an incomplex, Almighty Being. For instance, the change of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ is accomplished immediately after the utterance of the words: "Make this bread the precious Body of Thy Christ, and that which is in this cup the precious Blood of Thy Christ, changing them by Thy Holy Ghost." After these last words, and after the blessing, with the sign of the cross with the hand, the bread and wine are instantaneously changed into the Body and Blood of Christ, but not before; for the divine Omnipotence awaits the word of the priest co-operating with It. "For we are labourers together with God."5005001 Corinthians iii. 9. The blessing at this time, by the sign of the cross in the name of the Lord, signifies that the mystery is accomplished by the Holy Ghost in the name of Jesus Christ, and for the sake of Jesus Christ, at His intercession, by the favour of God the Father.

During the celebration of divine service and the sacraments the servant of God should be firmly convinced that whatever he thinks and says will be accomplished. It is so easy for the Lord to fulfil our requests, to create or to change anything in accordance with our words. Let this conviction be as easy and natural to you as your breathing the air, as seeing with your eyesight, as hearing with your ears. You have a thousand times experienced upon yourself that this is really so; you have yourself experienced that there is no interval of time between the words: "Spake, and it was done; commanded, and it stood fast;"501501Psalm xxxiii. 9. that they are true in all their power. Absorb this conviction into yourself with your food and drink--with your breathing.

The Liturgy is the supper, the table of God's love to mankind. Around the Lamb of God upon the holy disc all are at this time assembled--the living and the dead, saints and sinners, the Church triumphant and the Church militant.

There is nothing impossible unto those who believe; lively and unshaken faith can accomplish great miracles in the twinkling of an eye. Besides, even without our sincere and firm faith, miracles are accomplished, such as the miracles of the sacraments; for God's Mystery is always accomplished, even 198 though we were incredulous or unbelieving at the time of its celebration. "Shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect?502502Romans iii. 3. Our wickedness shall not overpower the unspeakable goodness and mercy of God; our dulness shall not overpower God's wisdom, nor our infirmity God's omnipotence.

The Church is the eternal truth, because she is united with the truth, with Christ, and is animated by the spirit of truth: "I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world."503503St. Matthew xxviii. 20. "His Body . . . which is the Church,"504504Colossians i. 24. says the Apostle.

You who are full of iniquities must thirst to suffer every iniquity from other people, so that "the judgment of God according to truth"505505Romans ii. 3. may be manifested upon you in your present life. "With what measure ye mete," to your Lord and your neighbour," it shall be measured to you again."506506St. Matthew vii. 2. Bear always in mind the example of that most righteous man, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, Who, being righteous, yet suffered every iniquity from men, was lifted up upon the cross, and died the most shameful death.

Do not be faint-hearted, and do not despair when men hate you for revealing their ways, but rejoice the more, remembering the words of the Saviour: " Blessed are ye when men shall hate you."507507St. Luke vi. 22.

Man builds himself a house, and lives in it; the animal a lair, and lives in it; the bird a nest, and hatches its young ones; the bee a hive with honeycomb, and lives in it, preparing honey for itself; the spider weaves a web, and, living in it, catches food for itself by means of it. Was it not, therefore, fitting that the Creator should build Himself a house not made with hands—His Body—as He built it in the womb of the Virgin Mother, as He even now creates temples for His Body in the life-giving mysteries—the Creator, Who has built and continues to build bodily houses for all sentient or sentiently-spiritual creatures?

The priesthood, or in general holy men, are sacred reservoirs, from which the beneficial water is communicated to other believers. "Out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water."508508St. John vii. 38.

How pure and spiritual should be the lips of priests, who so often pronounce the most holy name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost! How still more spiritual and pure should 199 be their hearts to contain and feel in themselves the sweetness of this most precious, glorious, and justly-worshipped name! O, how far a priest should withdraw himself from carnal delights, so as not to become flesh, in which the spirit of God cannot dwell! What carnal delights can there be for a priest, when he must absolutely delight in the Lord alone, so that He may grant him the petitions of his heart? What carnal delights can there be for a priest when he has so many spiritual children disclosing to him their various spiritual or bodily infirmities, with which he must heartily sympathise, concerning which he must give sincere and wholesome advice; when he must each day wrestle in prayer for them with his whole heart and with tears before the Lord, that the mental wolf may not fall upon them and ravish them, that God may grant that they may prosper in life and faith, and in spiritual wisdom? What carnal delights can there be for a priest when he must often perform the services in the church and stand before the altar of the Lord; when he has so often to celebrate the divine and most-wonderful Liturgy, and to be the celebrant and partaker of the heavenly, immortal, and life-giving Mysteries; when, in general, he has so often to celebrate sacraments and prayers? The heart that loves carnal delights is unfaithful to the Lord. "Ye cannot serve God and Mammon."509509St. Matthew vi. 24.

"Ye shall know them by their fruits."510510St. Matthew vii. 16. By the most sweet, most blessed, and life-giving fruits of the Liturgy—the most pure Mysteries of the Body and Blood of the Lord—you will recognise that it is from God, the inspiration of the divine Spirit, and that this most holy, life-giving Spirit breathes in all its prayers and sacred rites. What a wonderful living tree is this divine Liturgy! What leaves it has! What fruits it bears! Not only the fruits, but even "The leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations."511511Revelation xxii. 2. For who has not received great spiritual benefit, peace, and blessedness into his soul from only devoutly assisting at the divine Liturgy! And that which brings forth good fruits must be in itself good; such is the law of creation.

One of the most powerful wiles of the Devil is to weaken the heart through slothfulness, and with it all the spiritual and bodily powers. At such times faith, hope, and love are dried up in the heart; we become faithless, despondent, insensible towards God and men: the salt has lost its savour.

Only feel sincerely the need of that for which you pray and believe that every good and perfect gift comes from God 200 and not from men—not by chance, not through circumstances nor fate; that God sees and hears all your needs, every movement of your heart and of your thoughts; that He is all-good, Almighty, most wise, and that He can easily accomplish in an instant, by a single movement of His thought, through the Son in His Holy Spirit, everything that you need—and you will obtain everything. For although many things are impossible with men, they are not so with God: "For with God all things are possible."512512St. Mark x. 27.

Trust in prayer consists in uttering the petitions, thanksgivings, and praise with faith in the presence of God, and of His hearing them; and with the fear of God, not doubting, nor being in the least uneasy as to their acceptance and fulfilment, but in absolute assurance that God has heard them and accepted them upon His heavenly and mental Altar; and that, in accordance with the desire of our Mother the Church (if we pray in the name of the Church), as well as of our own heart, He will give us, as the all-good Almighty and most wise, all that we ask, and more abundantly than we ask or mean. But the heart that has a partiality for food and drink, that is greedy for these, and is weakened by them, has not such trust; neither the heart in which hatred and animosity are concealed, nor that is bound by avarice, covetousness, and envy, until it puts away its infirmities and amends itself.

In signing ourselves with the sign of the cross, with the three fingers we lay the upper end of the cross upon the forehead as an emblem of God the Father, Who is the uncreated Wisdom; the lower end of the cross upon the bosom as an emblem of the Son Who was begotten of the Father before all worlds, and which is in the bosom of the Father; and the transverse part upon the shoulders as an emblem of the Holy Ghost, Which is the arm or the power of God, or the band of the Lord, as has been said: "To whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed;"513513St. John xii. 38; Isaiah liii. 1. or: "The hand of the Lord was there upon me;"514514Ezekiel iii. 22. that is, the Holy Ghost. There is, besides, an image of the Holy Trinity in man himself. The thinking mind is the image of God the Father; the heart, in which wisdom dwells and expresses itself, is the image of God the Son, the Personal wisdom of God; the lips, through which that which is in the thoughts and in the heart proceeds, are the image of the Holy Ghost. " He breathed on them, and said unto them: Receive ye the Holy Ghost. . . ."515515St. John xx. 22. When "Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications . . . blasphemies. . . ."516516St. Matthew xv. 19. 201 then it is the evil spirit nestling in man's heart which comes forth; but when "A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good,"517517St. Luke vi. 45. then that is the image of the Holy Ghost proceeding from the Father through the Son. How great, therefore, is man! It has not been said in vain: "I have said ye are gods, and ye are all children of the most Highest." 518518Psalm lxxii. 6."If He called them gods unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken [that is, if it has been said, then it must be true, immutable], say ye of Him Whom the Father hath sanctified and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest, because I said, I am the Son of God." 519519St. John x. 35, 36O, the dignity! O, the greatness of man! Do not look upon any man, especially upon a Christian, otherwise than as upon the son of God, and receive him as the son of God, converse with him, behave with him as with the son of God, by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

A certain person who was sick unto death from inflammation of the bowels for nine days, without having obtained the slightest relief from medical aid, as soon as he had communicated of the Holy Sacrament, upon the morning of the ninth day, regained his health, and rose from his bed of sickness in the evening of the same day. He received the Holy Communion with firm faith. I prayed to the Lord to cure him. "Lord," said I, "heal Thy servant of his sickness. He is worthy, therefore grant him this. He loves Thy priests, and sends them his gifts." I also prayed for him in church before the altar of the Lord, at the Liturgy, during the prayer: "Thou Who hast given us grace at this time, with one accord to make our common supplication unto Thee," and before the most Holy Mysteries themselves. I prayed in the following words: "Lord, our life! It is as easy for Thee to cure every malady as it is for me to think of healing. It is as easy for Thee to raise every man from the dead as it is for me to think of the possibility of the resurrection from the dead. Cure, then, Thy servant Basil of his cruel malady, and do not let him die; do not let his wife and children be given up to weeping." And the Lord graciously heard, and had mercy upon him, although he was within a hair's-breadth of death. Glory to Thine omnipotence and mercy, that Thou, Lord, hast vouchsafed to hear me!

The heart can change several times in one moment—to good or evil, to faith or unbelief, to simplicity or cunning, to love or hatred, to benevolence or envy, to generosity or avarice, 202 to chastity or fornication. O, what inconstancy! O, how many dangers! O, how sober and watchful we must be!

Do not rejoice when your countenance is bright from pleasant food and drink, because then the inward face of your soul is hideous and deadly, and at that time the words of the Saviour Christ are applicable to you: "For ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which, indeed, appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones"520520St. Matthew xxiii. 27, 28.—that is, of hypocrisy and iniquity.

How many times already, O Master, Lord Jesus, hast Thou renewed my nature, heedlessly corrupted by my sins! There is no measure and number to this. How many times hast Thou saved me from the furnace burning within me, from the furnace of many and diverse passions, from the abyss of despondency and despair! How many times hast Thou renewed my depraved heart, when only I have called upon Thy Name with faith! How many times hast Thou accomplished this through the life-giving Holy Sacrament! O Lord! in truth there is no number and measure of Thy mercies unto me, a sinner. What shall I offer to Thee, or what can I render unto Thee for Thine innumerable benefits to me, Jesus, my life and my lightness? May I be prudent in my ways, according to Thy grace; for " blessed are those that are undefiled in the way,"521521Psalm cxix. 1; xviii. 21; and others. as Thou hast said, through the Holy Ghost, by the mouth of our forefather, David. I will endeavour to be faithful unto Thee, to be humble, meek, not irritable, gentle, forbearing, industrious, merciful, generous, not covetous, obedient.

Alms-giving is good and salutary when to it is united the amendment of the heart from pride, malice, envy, slothfulness, indolence, gluttony, fornication, falsehood, deceitfulness, and other sins. But if the man is not careful to amend his heart, trusting only to his alms, then he will obtain but little benefit from them, for he builds with one hand and destroys with the other.

The children Paul and Olga, by the infinite mercy of the Lord, in accordance with mine unworthy prayer, have been cured of the spirit of infirmity by which they were attacked. In the case of the child Paul, his malady passed away through sleep, and the child Olga became quiet in spirit, and her little face grew bright instead of dark and troubled. Nine times I went to pray with bold trust, hoping my trust might not be 203 shamed; that to him that knocketh it would be opened; that even on account of my importunity, God would fulfil my requests; that if the unjust judge at last satisfied the woman who troubled him, then still more the Judge of all, the most righteous Judge, would satisfy my sinful prayer for the innocent children; that He would consider my labour, my intercession, my prayerful words, my kneeling, my boldness, my trust in Him. And the Lord did so; He did not cover me, a sinner, with shame. I came for the tenth time to their home, and the children were well. I gave thanks unto the Lord and to our most speedy Mediatrix.

"That they all may be one, as Thou, Father, art in me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in us."522522St. John xvii. 21. What separates us from God and each other? Money, food, and drink—this dust, this dross, this corruption. Why? Because we have not living Christian trust and faith in God. We do not know, or we forget, that man's true life is love for God and his neighbour. Setting our life upon dust and trusting in it, we do not render to the Heavenly Father the glory that is due to Him, by putting our whole trust in Him, by casting all our care upon Him, as His faithful children in Christ should do. "If then I be a Father, where is Mine honour?523523Malachi i. 6. Where is your trust in Me ? Where is your love for Me? Where is your detachment from earthly, corrupt things, and your hearty desire for the heavenly, spiritual, and eternal ones?

While I live, then the flesh is mine own, because my spirit lives in it; but when I die, the flesh is no longer mine, but belongs to God and to the earth: "The earth is the Lord's and all that therein is."524524Psalm xxiv. 1. "For dust thou art and unto dust shalt thou return."525525Genesis iii. 9. "Whoso eateth My flesh and drinketh My blood."526526St. John vi. 54. These words also signify that I myself wholly dwell in these two forms of the Communion—in the flesh and blood; that they are mine by their close association with me, as the flesh and blood of the man, with the soul of the man dwelling in them; for the soul penetrates all the body and all the blood.

How many times death entered into my heart, communicating its beginning to the body also an innumerable number of times! And yet the Lord delivered me from this state of death, was merciful to me with unspeakable mercy, and gave me new life. O, how full of gratitude to the Lord my heart should be! "If the Lord had not helped me, it had not failed, but my soul had been put to silence."527527Psalm xciv. 17.

204

Our flesh becomes depressed and downcast when it is subjected to any infirmities; whilst when it is in good health and enjoys carnal pleasures, then it rejoices, leaps, and gets beyond itself. We must pay no attention to the delusive feelings of the flesh, and, in general, must disdain every carnal amusement and delight; we must bear with equanimity the afflictions and maladies of the flesh, take courage and set our trust upon God.

Why is impatience in some small, unimportant matter, one single movement of the heart towards impatience, already a sin and is immediately inwardly punished? Likewise, why is every momentary movement of the heart towards sin considered as a sin and immediately punished? Because impatience in a small matter is an earnest of impatience in great and important matters; for the soul of man is incomplex, and one single inclination of the heart towards sin is already a sin. And therefore, as every small, unimportant sin leads to great ones, it is always punished at its very beginning and must be crushed. "Thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord."528528St. Matthew xxv. 21. And how great are these many things! "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him."5295291 Corinthians ii. 9.

When praying, endeavour by every means to feel in your heart the truth and the power of the words of the prayer; feed yourself upon them as upon an imperishable food; water your heart with them as with a dew; and warm yourself by them as by means of a beneficial fire.

The Lord is everything to me: He is the strength of my heart and the light of my intellect. He inclines my heart to everything good; He strengthens it; He also gives me good thoughts; He is my rest and my joy; He is my faith, hope and love; He is my food and drink, my raiment, my dwelling place. .As a mother is everything to her infant—its mind, will, sight, hearing, taste, smelling and feeling, as well as its food and drink, its clothing, hands and feet—so, likewise, the Lord is everything to me, when I yield myself wholly unto Him. But, alas! when I fall away from the Lord, then the Devil enters into me, and if I did not turn my heart's gaze towards the Lord, did I not, amidst the enemy's oppression, call upon the Lord for help, then the Devil would have been, as he sometimes is, very evil to me: 205 malice, despondency, perfect feebleness towards everything good, despair, hatred, envy, avarice, blasphemous, wicked and impure thoughts, contempt for everything—in short, he would have been, and sometimes is, my intellect, my will, sight, hearing, taste, smell, feeling, my hands and feet. Therefore, put your trust in the Lord. He is that which is, infinite in holiness, omnipotence, grace, mercy, bountifulness, and wisdom.

When your flesh suffers through maladies, remember that it is the greatest enemy of your salvation that suffers, that is weakened by these sufferings, and bear them bravely in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, Who for our sakes endured the cross and suffered death; also, remember that all our maladies are God's punishment for sins; they cleanse us, they reconcile us with God and lead us back to His love. Grant us "Thy peace," it is said, "and Thy love, as Thou hast granted us all things." Remember, that during your illness the Lord Himself is with you ("I am with him in trouble")530530Psalm xci. 15.; that it has proceeded from a sign of the Master, punishing us as a father. You who believe in the time of your welfare, see that you do not fall away from God in the time of misfortune, but, like the martyrs, be constant in faith, hope, and love.

God is an incomplex, most perfect Being; that is, the purest holiness, the purest good and truth; and in order to be in union with God, in order to be one spirit with Him (for we are from Him), we must acquire, through His grace, the most perfect simplicity of goodness, holiness, and love. All the saints who are in heaven were cleansed by the blood of the Son of God, through the Holy Ghost, and have not a shadow of sin in them. It was for this that they struggled in this life, that they mortified their flesh in order to cleanse themselves "from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God,"5315312 Corinthians vii. 1. in order to become eternally united with that most glorious Being; it is for this reason also that the Holy Church with all her institutions now exists upon earth, the hierarchy, the Divine services, the sacraments, the rites; fasts were likewise appointed in order to cleanse and sanctify the children of God, in order to unite them with that most blessed Being, glorified in the Holy Trinity: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

You ask the Lord that you may love Him with a love, strong as death, or until death. Suppose, now, that the Lord sends you a terrible inward disease that may bring you nigh unto death itself. Do not, then, murmur against the Lord, but bear it bravely, thanking the Lord for His fatherly visitation, and this 206 will show that what you call your love for God is strong as death. And during the most violent fits or spasms of your illness trust in God, that He has the power to save you, not only from suffering, but even from death itself, should it please Him to do so. Do not spare, do not cherish your perishable body, but give it up willingly and wholly to the Lord, as Abraham gave his son Isaac as an holocaust, to the will of the Lord Who punishes you—not losing faith in God's goodness, not growing despondent, not foolishly accusing God of injustice for so severely chastising you—and you will thus offer a great sacrifice unto God, like Abraham or like the martyrs.

Let that which tranquillises my thoughts and my heart be committed to writing as a memorial to me of the constant peace of my heart amidst the cares and vanities of life. What is it? It is the Christian saying, full of living trust and wonderful soothing power: "The Lord is everything to me." This is the priceless treasure! This is the precious jewel, possessing which we can be calm in every condition, rich in poverty, generous and kind to other people in the time of our wealth, and not losing hope even after having sinned. "The Lord is everything to me." He is my faith, my trust, my love, my strength, my power, my peace, my joy, my riches, my food, my drink, my raiment, my life, in a word, mine all. Thus, man, the Lord is everything to you; and you must be everything to the Lord. And, as all your treasure is contained in your heart and in your will, and God requires from you your heart, having said: " My son, give Me thine heart,"532532Proverbs xxiii. 26. therefore, in order to fulfil God's gracious and perfect will, renounce your own corrupt, passionate, seductive, will; do not know your own will, know only God's will. "Not my will, but Thy will be done."

There is absolutely nothing for a Christian to be proud of in accomplishing works of righteousness, for he is saved, and is being constantly saved, from every evil through faith alone, in the same manner as he accomplishes works of righteousness also by the same faith. "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that (faith itself) not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast."533533Ephesians ii. 8, 9. So that no one can be proud of anything.

It is only when we pray fervently, only then that we feel calm, warm, at ease, and bright in soul, because then we are with God and in God; but as soon as we cease thus praying, then temptations and various troubles begin. O, most blessed time of prayer!

207

Love for God begins to manifest itself and act in us when we begin to love our neighbour as ourselves, and not to spare either ourselves or anything belonging to us for him, as the image of God; when we endeavour to serve him for his salvation in everything that we can; when, for the sake of pleasing God, we refuse to gratify our appetites, our carnal vision, our carnal wisdom, which is not subjected to the wisdom of God. "For he that loveth not his brother, whom he hath seen, how can he love God, Whom he hath not seen?"534534St. John iv. 20. "They that are Christ's have crucified the flesh, with the affections and lusts."535535Galatians v. 24.

Ask the Lord for whatever you desire. God the Father has but to desire to accomplish your request. The Son, the Creator, and the Holy Ghost, the Accomplisher, being always with Him and in Him, as He Himself is in Them, are always ready to accomplish the desire of the Almighty and All-good Father; for They Themselves are one with Him in goodness and omnipotence.

You ought not to keep God's gifts to yourself, but should diffuse them upon others. Nature herself is an example to you; the sun does not keep the light to itself, but diffuses it upon the earth and moon. Pastors especially ought not to keep their—or, rather, God's—light to themselves, but should abundantly diffuse the light of their intelligence and knowledge upon others.

With what are our hearts occupied? God, "Who trieth the very hearts and reins,"536536Psalm vii. 10. sees what each one of us has in his heart, to what it is attached during the greater part of life; and if the Lord had given us the capability of seeing all the depths of the human heart, then our eyes would have turned away with horror from the mass of impurities within: adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies, pride, and others. What abomination we should have beheld: the abomination of ingratitude to God, of forgetfulness of God, of unbelief, of little faith, of manifold attachments to earthly things, often the most absurd ones, of carelessness for heavenly things, of our own lot after death, of inattention and neglect of the Church, of her services, rites, and institutions, of contempt for the clergy, the representatives of religion and the Church, and every other abomination!

It is impossible to represent and to think of the cross 208 without love. Where the cross is, there is love; in the church you see crosses everywhere and upon everything, in order that everything should remind you that you are in the temple of the God of love, in the temple of love itself, crucified for us.

People say that if you feel no inclination to pray, it is better not to pray; but this is crafty, carnal sophistry. If you only pray when you are inclined to, you will completely cease praying; this is what the flesh desires. "The Kingdom of Heaven suffereth violence."537537St. Matthew xi 12. You will not be able to work out your salvation without forcing yourself.

In educating, it is extremely dangerous to only develop the understanding and intellect, and not pay attention to the heart. We must, above all pay attention to the heart, for the heart is life, but life corrupted by sin. It is necessary to purify this source of life, to kindle in it the pure flame of life, so that it should burn and not be extinguished; and should direct all the thoughts, desires, and tendencies of the man through all his life. Society is corrupted precisely through the want of Christian education. It is time that Christians should understand the Lord, should understand what He requires of us; namely, a pure heart. "Blessed are the pure in heart."538538St. Matthew v. 8. Listen to His sweetest voice in the Gospel. The true life of our heart is Christ ("Christ liveth in me"539539Galatians ii. 20.). Let all of you learn wisdom of the Apostle. This should be our common problem: to bring Christ to dwell in our hearts through faith.

These hands, that like to take gifts, shall be folded upon the breast and shall take no more; these feet, that like to walk for evil, and that do not like to stand in prayer, shall be stretched out for ever, and shall not go anywhere more; these eyes, that look enviously upon the prosperity of their neighbour, shall close, their fire shall be dimmed for ever, and nothing shall charm them again; the hearing, so often open to listen with pleasure to evil speaking and calumny, shall be deadened, and no thunders even will be audible to it. It shall only hear the trumpet raising the dead, when our incorruptible body shall rise, either "unto the resurrection of life or unto the resurrection of damnation."540540St. John v. 9. What, then, will live in us, even after our death, and what should be the object of all our care during our present life? That which we now call the heart, that is, the inward man, our soul; 209 it should be the object of our solicitude. Cleanse your heart during all your life, so that it, or your soul, may be capable of seeing God afterwards; only care for your body and its requirements as much as is necessary for maintaining its health, power, and decency. It will all die; the earth will bear it all away. Strive, therefore, to perfect within you that which loves and hates, that which is calm or disturbed, which rejoices or grieves—that is, your heart or your inward man, which thinks and reasons through your intellect.

Men throughout all their earthly life see everything but Christ, the life-giver; this is why they have no spiritual life, this is why they are given to every passion: unbelief, want of faith, covetousness, envy, hatred, ambition, the pleasures of eating and drinking. It is only at the close of their life that they seek Christ through the Holy Communion, and even this out of crying necessity and as a custom usual amongst others. O Christ, our God, our Life and Resurrection! How low have we fallen in our vanity, how blind have we become! But how would it have been with us had we always sought Thee, had we always had Thee in our hearts? The tongue cannot express the bliss which those experience who have Thee in their hearts! Unto them Thou art strengthening food, inexhaustible drink, shining raiment, the sun, "the peace which passeth all understanding,"541541Philippians iv. 7. unutterable joy, and everything. Possessing Thee, all earthly things become dust and corruption.

"It is the Spirit that quickeneth."542542St. John vi. 63. It is to the Spirit of the Lord in creatures that their animation belongs, since the time of their creation, and to the Son of God their creation, the bringing of them into existence from non-existence. This is also how the Body and the Blood of Christ are transubstantiated by the Holy Ghost from the bread and wine, in the same manner as a body was created by the Holy Ghost in the womb of the Most-pure Virgin from Her blood. The Holy Ghost creates us in the womb of our mother; it is to the Spirit of God that we owe our spiritual blessings.

The kingdom of life and the kingdom of death go side by side. I say go, because they are spiritual. The Chief of the first—that is, of the kingdom of life—is Jesus Christ, and those who are with Christ are undoubtedly in the kingdom of life; the chief of the second—that is, of the kingdom of death—is the prince of the powers of the air -- 210 the Devil, with the spirits of evil subject to him, of which there are so many that their number far exceeds the number of all men dwelling upon earth. These children of death, the subjects of the prince of the air, are in constant stubborn warfare with the children of life—that is, with faithful Christians—and strive by every crafty means to win them over to their side, through the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, because sin and crime are their elements, and through sins, if we do not repent of them, we pass over to their side; whilst those to whom sins form as though an every-day requirement, who drink in iniquity like water, are not disturbed by the spirits of evil, because they already belong to them as long as they live carelessly in regard to their souls. But as soon as they turn to God, acknowledging their sins, both voluntary and involuntary, the war bursts forth, and the hordes of Satan rise up and carry on an unceasing fight. You see by this how necessary it is to seek Christ, as the Chief of the kingdom of life, and the Conqueror of hell and death.

Every affliction and oppression arises either from want of faith or from some passion concealing itself within the man, or from some other impurity visible to the Almighty, and shows that the Devil is in the heart, and that Christ is not in the heart. Christ is the peace, the freedom, and the ineffable light of the soul.

The air, the blowing of the wind, the breathing of creatures in the material world correspond to the spirits in the spiritual world, and to the uncreated, all life-giving Spirit of God itself. This is why the Spirit manifested itself as "a rushing mighty wind,"543543Acts ii. 2. this is why also the Saviour compares "the breathing of the Spirit in the souls of those who are born of the Spirit,"544544St. John iii. 8. to the blowing of wind. In the material world there are many things that correspond to those of the spiritual world, because the material world is also the creation of the Spirit; and cannot the creating Spirit in part show His image and His affinity in the creatures created by Him? Man is only the highest possible image of God amongst creatures, partakers of matter and purely material.

Kissing with the lips corresponds to kissing with the soul; and when we kiss holy things, we ought to kiss them with the soul and heart as well as the lips.

The Lord rules wonderfully and mightily over material 211 worlds by means of His wisdom, by means of His word. As the particles of the body of an animal, of a tree, of grass, of stone are held together by cohesion, so all the worlds are held together by the powers and laws laid in them. As the soul carries the body and gives life to it, so also God carries the world, giving life to it through His Holy Spirit; it is not without reason that a man is called a little world.

What an insignificant cobweb the world must be to God! What an insignificant cobweb is my body! And yet all is wisdom in every point of matter, and all stands only by wisdom, by the eternal laws of wisdom. O, wisdom, wisdom! We all owe our being to thee, to thy merciful Author! My death, my decomposition or destruction, clearly proves what an insignificant cobweb thou hast in me.

Glory to Thee, life-giving Father, life-giving Son, and life-giving Holy Ghost, incomplex Being—God; ever saving us from the spiritual death caused to our soul by passions. Glory to Thee, Lord, in three persons, who enlightenest the dark face of our soul and body, and bestowest upon us Thy peace, which exceeds every earthly and physical good, and surpasses all understanding.

Pray without ceasing, calling upon the name of the life-giving Trinity in order that your soul should not be suddenly overwhelmed by any passion, pride, or envy, or malice and hatred, or avarice, or covetousness, or gluttony, or anger and irritability, or harsh judgment or scorn, or falsehood and calumny, or any such passion; for we walk amongst snares every hour, every minute of our life. Let the eyes of your heart be on guard every hour, every minute. Let your heart be watchful, not only during the day, but also during the night, in accordance with, the Scripture. " I sleep, but my heart waketh."545545Solomon's Song v. 2.Ephesians iv. 32.

We must love our neighbour still more when he sins against God, or against ourselves, because then he is sick, because then he is in spiritual misfortune, in danger; then, especially, we must have compassion upon him, pray for him, and apply to his heart a healing plaster—a word of kindness, instruction, reproval, consolation, forgiveness, love. "Forgiving one another, even as God, for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."546546Ephesians iv. 32. All sins and passions, quarrels and disputes, are truly spiritual diseases; that is how we must look upon them. Or, all passions are a fire of the soul, a great fire, raging inwardly; a fire proceeding from the abyss of hell. It must be extinguished by the water of love, which is 212 strong enough to extinguish every infernal flame of malice and of other passions. But woe and misfortune to us, to our self-love, if we increase this flame by a fresh infernal flame, by our own malice and irritability, and thus make ourselves the assistants of the spirits of evil, ever endeavouring to inflame the souls of men by means of many and various passions. If we do so, we ourselves shall deserve the fire of Gehenna; and if we do not repent, and do not become in future wise unto good and simple unto evil, then we shall be condemned, together with the Devil and his angels, to torments in the lake of fire. Therefore, do not let us be overcome of evil, but let us overcome evil with good. How accursed are we men! How is it that we have not yet learned to consider every sin as a great misfortune for our soul, and not to pity, heartily, sincerely, lovingly, those who fall into such a misfortune. Why do we not flee from it as from poison, as from a serpent? Why do we linger in it? Why have we no pity upon ourselves, too, when we are subjected to any sin? Why do we not weep before the Lord, who created us?

The Lord allows us to be tossed by various passions in this life in order that we may hate these passions with all our heart, that we may look upon everything earthly as nothing, however precious and pleasant it may appear, and that we may long with all our hearts for God alone, the source of tranquillity and life, may cling to Him alone, may value Him before everything, His holy will, His peace and joy.

You feel straitened upon earth from all sides. Everything betrays you; your relations, friends, acquaintances, riches, the pleasures of the senses, your own body; all the elements—earth, water, fire, air, light—play you false. Cling, therefore, to God alone, "with Whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning,"547547James i. 17. Who alone is Love.

It is remarkable that some irritable people, after an agony of violent and prolonged anger, and after having experienced all its torments, become, as they say, silky, meek, and peaceable. The same applies to the other passions. The Lord Himself has pointed out that their punishment lies in themselves—in their extreme agony. Pride, envy, hatred, avarice, covetousness—all are thus punished. Each passion is its own tormentor, and at the same time the executioner of each man possessed with it.

"Follow peace with all men, and holiness; without which no man shall see the Lord."548548Hebrews xii. 14. Do not break peace for the sake of 213 anything perishable and transitory, for the sake of your sinful self-love. Love peace above everything--as the Lord Himself. Let nothing be dearer than peace and mutual love. Let us love peace--peace, peace!

The human soul is a free power, for it can become either a power for good or evil, according to the direction which you yourself give it. Lord, Almighty Power! strengthen mine infirm soul in every virtue! Stablish my heart, weak for everything good, upon the immovable rock of Thy commandments! Lord, I daily recognise, through experience, that without Thee I myself am nothing; that without Thee I can do no good; without Thee evil in its various forms is alone within me: without Thee I am the son of perdition. O unspeakably Good One, fill my heart with Thy goodness! But above all, I pray Thee, grant that I may love Thee with all my heart and my neighbour as myself. Grant that I may be neither malicious, proud, presumptuous, nor disobedient, but grant that I may be gentle, humble, tenderly respectful, and obedient. Amen.

O, how carefully do the Devil and the world sow their tares in Christ's cornfield, which is the Church of God. Instead of the Word of God, the word of the world, the word of vanity, is sown. Instead of the temple of God, the world has invented its own temples--the temples of the world's vanities--theatres, circuses, assemblies. Instead of holy icons, which worldly people do not accept, in the world there are painted and photographic portraits, illustrations, and various other pictures. Instead of God and the Saints, the world honours unto adoration its own celebrities--writers, actors, singers, painters, who command general confidence and respect up to reverence. Poor Christians! they have completely fallen away from Christ! Instead of spiritual raiment, every attention is paid in the world to perishable clothing, to fashionable dresses, and various exquisite ornaments, both splendid and costly.

In sickness and, in general, during bodily infirmity, as well as in affliction, a man cannot in the beginning burn with faith and love for God, because in affliction and sickness the heart aches, whilst faith and love require a sound heart, a calm heart. This is why we must not very much grieve if during sickness and affliction we cannot believe in God, love Him, and pray to Him fervently as we ought to. Everything has its proper time. There may be an unfavourable time even for praying.

214

Behave to your neighbour with a perfect heart—that is, truthfully and with the same love as you would have for your own self, so that your neighbour, on his part, may love you in return; and even if he does not love you, he will at least respect in you your virtue, will honour it, and will himself emulate it.

Would a beggar, who is fed upon crumbs from his master's table, be proud of being fed upon his crumbs? What is there for him to be proud of? Of his poverty? The beggar is myself, the master is the Lord; the crumbs from His table are all beneficial and natural gifts.

What is the sign that a Christian man is near to Christ? The man who is near to Christ often turns with faith and love to Christ; often pronounces His sweetest name; often calls upon Him for help; often turns his eyes, thoughts, and heart towards Him. Christ the Lord naturally reveals Himself upon his lips and in his glance, because without Christ he is powerless, joyless. The man who is far from Christ seldom, very seldom, turns his thoughts toward Christ, and even then not with hearty faith and love, but only through some necessity, and as to a person who is little known to him, who does not rejoice him, does not delight his heart, and who has no attraction for him. This is why we see that those who are near to Christ do not let Christ out of their thoughts and heart; they live in Him; He is their breath, food, drink, dwelling—everything. Through the sweetness of His name and His beneficial touch they, so to say, cleave to Him with their whole being: "My soul hangeth upon Thee."549549Psalm lxiii. 9. And in this cleaving they find unspeakable bliss, which the world does not know. Such are the signs by which it may be recognised who has found Christ and who has not yet found Him. Those who have not found Christ live in this life without hearty faith; they think and care more about worldly things—how to enjoy themselves, how to eat and drink pleasurably, how to dress exquisitely, how to satisfy their carnal desires, how to kill time, with which they do not know what to do, though time seeks them and, not finding them, quickly flies away before their eyes. Day flies away after day, night after night, month after month, year after year, until, finally, the last terrible hour strikes, and they hear a voice: "Stop, the course is finished; your time has been lost; your sins and iniquities have preceded you; they will fall upon you with all their power, and will crush you with their weight eternally."

215

What does to seek distraction mean? It means to wish to somehow fill the sickly emptiness of the soul, which was created for activity, and which cannot bear to be idle.

Let all knowledge relating to religion or faith be as though always new to you, that is, having the same importance, holiness, and interest.

The Lord is the perfect Owner and Master of all creatures; and we know that His commands and His will are obeyed by all creatures: by the angels and by men having understanding hearts; by heaven, earth, and all that is in them, even by hell and all that is therein. He commands the angels, and they hasten to fulfil His will; He commands them to be guardians of new-born men, and they guard them during all their life, not transgressing His commands in anything. He commands the heavens, and they either give forth rain and dew, or snow and hail, or keep them back; He commands the winds, the waters, and they obey Him; He commands the fire, and it obeys Him; He commands the sun, and it is obscured or shines upon everything under it, warming and lighting it; He commands the earth, and it germinates various kinds of plants; He commands it to cease growing, and the growth ceases; He commanded the waters to flow unrestrainably upon the earth, and they did so, as in the time of the universal deluge; He commands the winds, and they blow, they rage furiously, and sometimes become destructive, as a punishment for our sins; He commanded the sea-whale to devour the prophet Jonah, and it was ready to seize him; He commanded the fishes to fill His disciples' nets, and the fishes rushed into the nets, rushed to obey the Creator's commands; He commands the dead to rise, to live again, and death flees from the man and life again appears in him; He commands the disease to leave a sick man, and the disease departs, and the sick man rises up healthy and sound; He commands the demons, and they obey incontestably. Great is the name of the Lord, praised be the name of the Lord, most glorious is the name of the Lord! He can change at His pleasure the objects created by Him; for instance, water into blood, water into wine, a rod into a living serpent; or, again, a rod into a living tree, a man into a pillar, as in the case of Lot's wife; a serpent into gold, and, again, gold into a serpent, as the Lord did at the prayer of St. Spiridon of Trimiphunt.550550 St. Spiridon was born at Cyprus and, although of humble origin, was unanimously chosen Bishop of Trimiphunt on account of the holiness of his life. He was gifted with the power of working miracles, and was amongst the Bishops who took part in the first Ecumenical Council of Nicea, convoked to refute the heresy of Arius. He died in 348. (See"Lives of the Saints.") But the Lord's 216 power and sovereignty are especially manifested when He converts a sinful man into a holy chosen vessel after he had terribly fallen; when He restores, raises, and renews the depraved; when He gives life to the man who was dead in soul and body, and leads into eternal life him who had fallen into eternal death This is indeed the miracle of miracles; this reveals the infinite mercy, wisdom, and omnipotence of the Lord in relation to His creatures; or, above all, that He Himself, the Lord of all creatures, the infinite, the uncontainable, was pleased and was able to become man for our salvation, and that "the Word, by whom all things were made, was made flesh, and dwelt among us,"551551St. John i. 14. living with men and being like unto man in everything, except sin. "The heavens were in awe, and the ends of the earth were astonished, that God appeared as man in the flesh."552552Canon of the Eighth Tone, Hymn 9. He conversed with men, loaded us with benefits, worked innumerable miracles, suffered (O, wonder!), died (O, awful wonder!), and rose again, raising with Himself us also, who were dead in Adam! I glorify Thy most merciful, holy, almighty, and most wise power, Lord! Show upon me, also, Lord, Thy wonderful power, and, by ways known unto Thee, save me, Thine unworthy servant, disregarding my trespasses, voluntary and involuntary, committed in knowledge or ignorance, guiding me ever in Thy way, and strengthening me upon this way by Thy grace, and through me the others for whom Thou hast placed me as a light, shepherd, teacher, and priest.

When you partake of the immortal food and drink, the Body and Blood of the Lord, raise your grateful heart to the Lord and say: I thank Thee, Lord, Bread of Life and source of immortality, for giving unto us Thy Body and Blood for our food and drink, so that we, cleansed and sanctified here by them, may enter into Thine eternal kingdom—may eternally delight in the contemplation of Thy countenance and Thy blessed life! Do not suffer me, Lord, to care only for bodily food and drink; do not suffer me, Lord, to become attached to them, but grant that I may cleave to Thee alone. When you partake of perishable sweet things, thank the Lord, saying: I thank Thee, sweetness eternal, incomparable, infinitely surpassing all earthly sweetness, which are carnal and gross. Thou art the sweetness imperishable, life-giving, holy, tranquil, light, most peaceful, most joyful, inexhaustible; I thank Thee also for granting me these perishable sweet things to partake of and enjoy, so that through them I may learn, although only in part, how sweet Thou art, Thou who art all sweetness, and how greatly Thou art to be desired. Enlightened by the material light, say: Glory to Thee, light that never sets, most sweet, and giving joy to everything, for this 217 perishable but beautiful light, for lighting us by this image of Thine inaccessible Divine light, so that from this material light our thoughts may unceasingly pass to Thee, the eternal Light that never sets, and may aspire to attain through purity of life to the most blessed contemplation of Thyself. When you breathe the air with your lungs, that vivifying and refreshing element, constantly necessary for the support of our perishable life, again raise yourself in thought to the life-giving Lord, the Holy Ghost, with the Father and the Son, by whom we live, move, and exist, thanking Him for uninterrupted breath, and know, that as the body cannot live without air, so your soul cannot for an instant lead the true life without the Holy Ghost, and by pure and temperate living strive constantly to be in communion with God Himself, for without Him the soul dies. Thus from every created thing or being raise yourself continually to the Creator; thank Him for everything, and do not cling to any creature, do not serve any creature more than the Creator Himself, for service or slavery to creatures and attachment to earthly things is idolatry.

Bring your heart in sacrifice to God, give it wholly to the Almighty, renounce yourself, and all sinful inclinations: malice, hatred, pride, disobedience, and self-will, envy, malevolence, malignancy, avarice, covetousness, gluttony, fornication, uncleanness, stealing, deceit, fulness, slothfulness, and others; and continually force yourself to be kind when others exasperate and offend you, to pray for your enemies, for meekness, humility, gentleness, truer benevolence, generosity, disinterestedness, abstinence, chastity, alms-giving, truth and righteousness, industry, obedience, and others. It is difficult to conquer the passions, which become as though our natural members ("Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth"553553Colossians iii. 5.), but by being continually watchful over yourself, by constant fervent prayer and abstinence, with the help of God you will be able to conquer and eradicate them. "For where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them."554554St. Matthew xviii. 20. I reverence even two or three praying together, for in accordance with the Lord's promise He Himself is in the midst of them. I reverence still more a numerous congregation. Collective prayer is speedily fulfilled, and bears much fruit when it is united, unanimous ("gathered together in My name"). The assiduous prayer of the Church for the Apostle Peter immediately ascended before the throne of the Lord, and the Lord sent his angel to miraculously deliver Peter from the prison, whom Herod wished to destroy. The unanimous prayer of the Apostles Paul and Silas brought down upon them wonderful heavenly help from the Holy Ghost.555555Acts xii. 5-11; xvi. 24-6.

218

What darkness, what madness, what infirmity, and what a terrible deadly power is sin! Gazing upon faces because they are beautiful, we inwardly commit adultery; or we hate a man because his character does not agree with ours, because he has different passions to ours, because he has not the same disposition of spirit as ours, which is often not sinless, but passionate and vicious. Is the beauty of a face a reason to commit adultery—to sin? Should it not rather be a reason for praising the Creator, Who hath created man so beautifully? Is the fact of a man's character or temper not agreeing with ours, of his not showing much indulgence to our pride and in general to our passions, of his not having the same disposition of spirit as ours, a reason for us to hate him? Has not everybody his own freewill, his own character, temperament, habits, passions, and ways? Ought we not to be indulgent to everyone, to respect everyone's personal freedom, which even the Lord Himself does not violate?

It is unpleasant for a proud man when it is required of him to be humble to others; for an envious man when it is required of him to wish his enemies well; for a vindictive one when forgiveness and reconciliation are required of him; for one who loves money to be reminded of paying his debts; for a glutton when he is reminded of fasting and of the salvation of his soul. But they should conquer their feelings, their passions, and joyfully fulfil that which is required of them, or which is required by the Gospel: otherwise, by giving themselves up unrepentingly, irremediably to their passions, they will be eternally lost.

Glory to the power of Thy grace, Lord! Nothing, no effort of sin, can resist it in those who call upon it with faith. Thus, when subjected to the violence of the enemy of everything good—the Devil—and tempted by passions, I made the sign of the cross upon myself, saying inwardly, " Nothing can resist the power of Thy grace," and the violence ceased, the trouble and oppression passed away, and were replaced by tranquillity and peace. Glory to Thy power, Lord!

"I am only the witness that I may bear witness before Him of all thou tellest me."556556From the Office of Confession, the words of the confessor to his spiritual child. From the Office of Confession, the words of the confessor to his spiritual child. The priests will be witnesses before the Saviour on the terrible day of judgment concerning sinners, whether they repented or did not repent of these or those sins, and they who were penitent will be forgiven. But why is it necessary for God to have witnesses when He Himself knows everything? As has been said: "He needed not that any 219 should testify of man, for He knew what was in man."557557St. John ii. 25. For God they are not necessary, but they are necessary for us. It will be pleasant for us to see how the priests will bear witness concerning us, before the angels and men, that we repented of our sins, condemned ourselves, expressed our loathing for sin, took the firm resolution not to sin. Remember the Saviour's words to the Apostles: "Ye shall be brought before rulers and kings for My sake, for a testimony against them;"558558St. Mark xiii. 9. or, "His Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations."559559St. Matthew xxiv. 14.

Grant me, Lord, grace to renounce myself, this devil that I have become by inheritance from Adam. Lord Jesus, the New Adam, change me; make a new man of me; let me be clothed in Thee.

"Every valley" and dale "shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low, and the crooked shall be made straight . . . and all flesh shall see the salvation of God."560560St. Luke iii. 5, 6. The valley and dale are humble hearts. The mountain and hill shall be brought low—that is, proud men who think highly of themselves, and despise the lowly and humble. So it is: the Lord unceasingly acts through the spirit of righteousness and mercy in the hearts of men, humbling the proud by various worldly circumstances—by maladies, losses, humiliations from other people, and exalting the humble.

Flatterers are our greatest enemies. They blind our eyes, do not let us see our many defects, and thus hinder us upon the way to perfection, especially if we ourselves are self-loving and not far-seeing. This is why we must always stop those who natter us, or avoid them. Woe unto him who is surrounded by flatterers! Happy is he who is surrounded by simple-hearted people who do not hide the truth, although it may be unpleasant! For instance, when they detect his weaknesses, faults, passions, and mistakes.

He that is joined to God unfailingly, and as if naturally, loves his neighbour, because his neighbour is the image of God. And if he is a Christian, then he is also a child of God, a member of Christ, the God-man, and his own member besides. "For we are members one of another."561561Ephesians iv. 25. "We are members of His Body, of His Flesh, and of His Bones."562562Ephesians v. 30. But he who loves God is indifferent to everything earthly—to food, drink, dainties, to earthly beauty, dress, fame. For he cannot serve 220 two masters, for his heart is joined to the Lord; he is absorbed by Him, by his love for Him, and in the Lord everything earthly seems to vanish for him. Every worldly charm, even his own old sinful, passionate heart vanishes, and becomes united to God in one spirit. "He that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit,"5635631 Corinthians vi. 17. because he becomes enlightened in God, and sees the true value of all things earthly and heavenly, sees especially the vanity, the uselessness of everything earthly; the truth, the immeasurable superiority, and the eternity of spiritual blessings. He finds in God the cleansing from sins, and the holiness, peace, lightness, true freedom, and joy in the Holy Ghost which are natural to our spirit, but which we have lost. He also finds in God his natural spiritual food and drink, spiritual sweetness, spiritual raiment, shining, adorned, and white as snow, and unspeakable beauty, which will eternally enrapture him, inaccessible light which shall eternally light him, and an abode corresponding to his soul in like manner as he himself will be the abode of the Holy Trinity.

Lord! let my heart cling to Thee alone, and do not let it cling to anything earthly; for in earthly attachments there is sorrow, oppression, and torment. Let nothing earthly be dear to my heart, but grant that I may value Thee, the one Lord, above all, as well as everything heavenly, and the soul created after Thine image, immortal, reasonable, speaking, free, the breath of Thy mouth. Let nothing earthly--money, food, dress, rank, signs of distinction, etc.--become the idol of my heart. We must accustom ourselves to the simplest, least dainty of food, in order that the heart should not be allured by it, and even that in moderation, only for imparting strength.

The Lord was crucified for us on the cross. This is the reason why it, as well as the sign of the cross, has such power. This is why it is life-giving. This is why even in the Old Testament its symbol had such great power. The pole upon which the serpent was set cured those who were bitten by serpents; the cross, traced by Moses's rod, separated the waters; Moses's hands uplifted in prayer, and forming the cross, conquered Amalek, and so on.

As quickly as the pleasure of eating and drinking passes away in those sitting at table dining, for instance, so quickly shall pass, and passes away the present life, with all its pleasures, joys, sorrows, and sickness. It is like morning dew, 221 vanishing at the appearance of the sun. Therefore the Christian, who is called to a heavenly country, who is only a stranger and a sojourner upon earth, ought not attach his heart to anything earthly, but should cling to God alone, the Source of life, our resurrection, and the Life eternal.

We must not look with wonderment and malice upon the various sins, weaknesses and passions of humanity, because they form the old enticement, the infirmity of all mankind, and men themselves, by their own strength, cannot anyhow free themselves from them, and therefore a Saviour of men was necessary, not an intercessor, not an angel, but the Lord Himself incarnate. May He save me wholly! This is why we should despise human passions, even when directed against us; for instance: envy, malice, pride, avarice, extortion--and must not be exasperated with those who are subjected to them, but must behave gently to them, and act upon them by words, persuasion, and secret prayer, as did the Lord and His Saints in relation to their enemies. This is what the worldly wisdom of a Christian consists in.

Strive by every means constantly to rejoice the Heavenly Father by your life; that is, by your meekness, humility, gentleness, obedience, abstinence, right judgment, love of peace, patience, mercy, sincere friendship with worthy people, kindness to everybody, cordial hospitality, universal benevolence, accuracy in business, simplicity of heart and character, and by the purity of all your thoughts. Teach and strengthen us, O God, to live in accordance with Thy Will, for Thou art our Father, and we are Thy children, in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Everyone must bear in mind that every man possesses, besides his animal nature, a spiritual nature also; that as the animal nature has its requirements, the spiritual one has its own requirements too. The requirements of the animal nature are: drink, food, sleep, breath, light, clothing, warmth; whilst those of the spiritual nature are meditation, feeling, speaking, communion with God through prayer, Divine service, the sacraments, instruction in the Word of God, and fellowship with our neighbour through mutual conversation, charitable help, mutual instruction and teaching. We must also bear in mind that our animal nature is temporal, transitory, perishable, whilst the spiritual one is eternal, not transitory and indestructible; that we must despise the flesh as perishable, and care for the soul, which is immortal, for its salvation, its enlightenment, its cleansing from sins, passions, and vices for its adornment with such virtues as meekness, humility, gentleness, courage, patience, 222 submission, and obedience to God and men, purity and abstinence. Grant wisdom, O Lord, to every man that he may ever bear this in mind!

O Lord! let not Thy gifts, both spiritual and material, lie idle in us and for us; grant that they may be exercised salutarily and usefully. Fulfil this in all. May the number of Thy talents be increased by the personal activity of each one of us.

Look upon a spiteful, proud, presumptuous man as you would upon the wind, and do not be offended at his malice, pride, and presumption, but be calm in yourself. The enemy purposely irritates you, kindling the fire of the human passions, or arousing in your heart various suspicions of an evil nature and imaginary fancies.

Do not pay attention to the words of an arrogant man, but rather to their power. It often happens that words that appear harsh at first sight, do not proceed from any harshness of the heart, but only from habit. How would it be if everyone paid strict critical attention to our words, without Christian love, indulgent, sheltering, kindly, and patient? We must have died long ago.

Ought a holy and chosen flock, that is, orthodox Christians, to live, as we live? Are we walking by faith, are we living soberly in expectation of the second coming of Christ and of the terrible day of judgment? Do we tremble at the thought of everlasting torments? Do we thirst for eternal bliss? Do we not cling to this transitory life. "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation!"5645641 Peter ii. 9. Keep a strict watch over yourselves. Much will be required of you. Is this how those should live, who hope for the resurrection and the future life? Is this how those should live, who have received warning and sure testimony--from the true and veritable Head of their faith--of the truth and certitude of future torments?

How insignificant is the earth and earthly life in comparison with heaven, with Christ's eternal kingdom! And yet we attach ourselves so much to the earthly things, and are so careless of the salvation of the soul, of eternal life!

Luxuries, money are worse than ordinary dust and dirt, because they sully the soul; ordinary dust only sullies the 223 body, clothing, or room. O, how necessary it is to despise luxuries, money, and dress besides!

Our life is incomplex: because our life is Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the most incomplex eternal Being, having no beginning. "God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son."5655651 John v. 11. Why, then, do we seek life in men, in enjoyments, in money, in honours, in dress, etc.? There is no life for the heart in these things, but only affliction, straitness, and spiritual death. Why do we forsake the Fountain of living waters--the Lord, and hew out "cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water"? 566566Jeremiah ii. 13.Why do we toss about, and trouble about trifles ? Why are we so greedy after enjoyments, money, honours, dress, and various other things? All these are dead, perishable, transitory. The Devil, who has the power of death, is also incomplex, and catches us in his snares, wounding us unto death; this is why we must be on our guard, and not attach ourselves to anything, so that we may not be hurt by him.

Avoid such a mode of life as tends to living for carnal motives and desires only; that is, only to sleeping, eating, dressing, walking, then again, to eating, drinking, and walking. Such a mode of life at last completely kills a man's spiritual life, making him quite earthly, and a creature of the earth; whilst the Christian, even during his life on earth, ought to be heavenly. "For the kingdom of heaven is at hand."567567St. Matthew ii. 2. "Our Father, which art in heaven!" We ought to read the Word of God more frequently, pray more often at home and in church, and in every place, of course more inwardly than outwardly; to meditate more often on God, the creation, the calling and predestination of man; on God's providence, the redemption, God's unspeakable love to mankind, the lives and glorious deeds of the Saints, who pleased God by their manifold virtues, and on other subjects; also to fast, to examine our conscience, to repent sincerely and deeply of our sins, and so on!

God's Wisdom, Mercy, and Omnipotence may be observed above all in the fact that the Lord places each one of us in such a position, that if we wish we can bring to God the fruits of good works, and save ourselves and others, and that out of the greatest sinners He makes righteous men, obeying His grace, which leads to salvation, and wonderfully saves us from all misfortunes, rescuing us even from destruction itself.

You wish others to speedily correct themselves of their 224 faults, but do you speedily correct yourself; do you not suffer from the same, as others? Is it not through you, through your not correcting yourself, that others linger in their sins and passions?

Do everything in opposition to that which the enemy suggests to you: he suggests to you to hate those who offend you-- you must love them; bless those who curse you, and do not torment those who take away your property, but give it away willingly; when you want to laugh--weep when you feel despondent--endeavour to be glad ; when you feel envious--rejoice at the prosperity of others; when you are inclined to contradiction and disobedience--immediately submit and agree; when impure thoughts occur to you--be zealous of the purity of your heart, represent to yourself the high destiny of the Christian, made godly in Christ Jesus, and remember that our members are--the members of Christ; when you feel proud--humble yourself; when spiteful--be specially kind; when irritable--preserve calmness; when avaricious--be generous; when distracted-- immediately close your feelings to all outward things, and meditate on the "one thing needful" ; when you feel doubt, little faith, unbelief--then especially call firm faith to your help, remind yourself of the examples of faith, or of believers in the Old and New Testaments, as well as the miracles accomplished by faith, and so on. Do thus, and do not succumb to the enemy: for all passions, partialities, and fancies are of his imagination.

You will spend the festival well, to the glory of God and the salvation of your soul, if you refrain from such passions as: malice, pride, cupidity, envy, avarice, intemperance, slothfulness, inattention, carelessness in pleasing God, and neglect of your soul; and if you practise the virtues opposite to these sins, and other good works. You will be devoting the festival not to God, but to Satan, if you are allured on such a day by your passions and vices. You will spend Sunday well (the day of Resurrection), if with your soul you will rise from the dead to God, forsaking unrighteous acts, if you are regenerate and renewed by grace. But you will spend the day ill, fruitlessly, if you do not rid your heart of your malice, cupidity, or your attachment to earthly things, and if your soul is not inflamed by heavenly love, by the love of God, by the love of the heavenly country, and of the life that never grows old, which is prefigured by Sunday, the day of Resurrection--the day of the Sun of righteousness.

Beggars every day pursue you: this means that--God's mercy 225 continually pursues you. " Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy."568568St. Matthew v. 7. And who will flee from God's mercy?

God's Saints value more than any of us the great act of the redemption of mankind by God, the descent of the Son of God from heaven, His teaching, likewise His sufferings, death, burial, resurrection, and Ascension into heaven; for they spent all their lives in working out their own and others' salvation, sincerely, firmly, infallibly, with their whole hearts; for the sake of their own and others' salvation, they renounced themselves, fasted, prayed, watched, wrestled, laboured in deed and word with their intellect and pen. But we do not understand how to value such great acts; we are cold, distracted, heedless, and are more occupied with the visible world and of its goods, which are but smoke.

I commit my whole life and everything, by which a man lives, my spiritual and bodily requirements, unto Christ my God, the Provider, the Ruler, and the Saviour: for, everything is in His hands. As for me, I have only to zealously fulfill His commandments.

Do not suffer, Lord, that even for an instant I may do the will of Thine and mine enemy--the Devil, but grant that I may continually do Thy Will, alone the Will of my God and my King: Thou alone, my true King by Whom all kings reign, grant that I may ever obey Thee, reverence Thee truly and firmly. "O come let us worship, and fall down and kneel before the Lord our Maker; serve the Lord in fear and rejoice unto Him with reverence."569569Psalm xcv. 6; ii. 11.

How must we look upon the gifts of intellect, feeling and freedom? With the intellect we must learn to know God in the works of His creation, revelation, providence, and in the destinies of men; with the heart we must feel God's love, His most heavenly peace, the sweetness of His love, we must love our neighbour, sympathise with him in joy and in sorrow, in health and in sickness, in poverty and in wealth, in distinction and in low estate (humiliation); we must use freedom, as a means, as an instrument for doing as much good as possible, and for perfecting ourselves in every virtue, so as to render unto God fruits a hundredfold.

All the Saints in heaven and all true Christians upon earth are "one body and one spirit,"570570Ephesians iv. 4. this is why the prayer of believers is heard so easily and speedily and truly in heaven, 226 and why there is so much hopefulness in calling upon the Saints; but in order that our prayers should be always easily and speedily heard by the Saints, we must have the same spirit as them, the spirit of faith and of love for God and our neighbour, the spirit of meekness, humility, abstinence, purity and chastity, brave, valiant, thirsting after righteousness, the spirit of compassion, heavenly and not earthly.

Consider yourself worse and more infirm than all others in spiritual respects, and despise, hate yourself for your sins,—this is pious and right—and be indulgent to others, respect and love them in spite of their sins, for God's sake, Who commanded us to respect and love all men, and also because they are created after His image—although they bear the wounds of sin, and because they are members of Jesus Christ.

The Lord sometimes suddenly sends bountiful material gifts, such, for instance, as: money in payment for some very easy work, and thus rewards you for the expenditure you have incurred in affording help to your neighbour; in general He freely bestows upon us the bountiful gifts of His mercy, in order that we should not grudge His gifts to those whom He sends to us, or whom He allows to take our property, which He has given us in order that we should not be at enmity amongst ourselves, but should live in love and harmony; should our neighbour rob us of our property, even then we ought not to be disquieted, but should bear it meekly, trusting to God to punish for the offence. You know, that the Lord Himself meekly allowed even His garments to be taken from Him, and His body to be tortured upon the cross—for your sake, to teach you meekness and gentleness in all misfortunes and offences.

God is good and all-goodness, and you, His image, must also be good. He is bountiful to all, and you too must be generous, and avoid avarice and grudging your neighbour anything material, perishable, as the greatest calamity and foolishness.

"Who or what are our idols?" They are—some persons, and after these our transitory life; our mortal body full of passions and the things relating to it: food and drink, dress, ornaments, distinctions, money, house furniture, etc. When the tempter attacks you through attachments to visible things by trust in visible things, bread, money and so on, then steadfastly lift up the eyes of your heart towards the invisible and eternal: first to the invisible and eternal God—the Source of our life; secondly 227 towards the invisible life that has no ending, towards the eternal bliss of the righteous after this transitory life. When he inspires you to seek life in corruptible things, you must strive after life in the incorruptible; when he attracts your eyes to the human body, disregarding its immortal soul, you must turn your mental gaze still more steadfastly upon the soul of the man, created after God's image and likeness, redeemed by the suffering and death of the Son of God upon the cross, made to inherit eternal blessings, affiliated by God, the temple of the Holy-Ghost, and the Bride of the Holy-Ghost. Avoid duplicity, that is, do not let your heart be divided between attachment to God and attachment to earthly things, "Ye cannot serve God and mammon";571571St. Matthew vi. 24. cling to God alone, put your trust in Him alone; for the Devil, by inciting us to duplicity, seeks himself to gain possession of our heart, which, is single and indivisible. And remember, that to attach yourself to God is always good, blessed, whilst to attach yourself to the world and its blessings is evil, painful, sorrowful, oppressive: for " attachment" to the world is a delusion of the Devil, and is his spirit.

The end of everything on earth—of my body, of enjoyments, of dress, of all treasures is—destruction, corruption and disappearance, but the spirit lives for ever. May my soul remember this, and not grieve at the loss of anything temporal, perishable, but be zealous about eternal, imperishable matters: concerning God, concerning the fulfilment of His commandments, the unity of love, a peaceful condition, patience, temperance, chastity, self-denial, the heart's indifference to all earthly beauties and enjoyments, not greedy of gain (only striving to gain the Lord Himself), seeking the one thing needful; endeavouring not to imitate the crafty, and not to envy those that work iniquity. Let others take away your dross—do not mind this and do not be exasperated at it.

The Lord has made us His Own (O, highest honour and dignity!) whilst through our sins, we alienate ourselves from our Master, Who has given us birth by water and the Spirit. The Lord has most truly joined Himself to us by His Flesh and Blood, 572572Hebrews ii. 14. which are united with His soul and Divinity—whilst we, through our sins and vices, join ourselves in the closest manner to God's enemy and our own.

When praying with people, we sometimes have to pierce through with our prayer as if it were the hardest wall—human souls, hardened and petrified by earthly passions—to penetrate the Egyptian darkness, the darkness of passions and worldly 228 attachments. This is why it is sometimes difficult to pray. The simpler the people one prays with the easier it is.

If God had not been incarnate upon earth, if He had not made us godly, if He had not taught us in His Own person how to live, what to hope for and expect, if He had not pointed out to us another perfect and eternal life, if He had not suffered and died and risen from the dead—then we should still have had some reason to live, as we all now live—that is to mostly lead a carnal, earthly life. But, now, we ought to meditate upon higher things, and count all earthly things but dung,573573Philippians iii. 8. for, everything earthly is nothing, in comparison with heavenly things. Meanwhile, the Devil, the father of lies, in spite of the Saviour's teaching and His spirit, teaches us to attach ourselves to earthly goods, and forcibly nails our sensual heart to them. The heart naturally seeks happiness—and the Devil gives a false direction to this tendency, and allures it by earthly happiness, that is—by riches, honours, splendour of dress, furniture, silver, equipages, gardens and various amusements.

Give yourself up entirely to God's providence, to the Lord's Will, and do not grieve at losing anything material, nor in general at the loss of visible things; do not rejoice at gain, but let your only and constant joy be to win the Lord Himself. Trust entirely in Him: He knows how to lead you safely through this present life, and to bring you to Himself—into His eternal Kingdom. From want of trust in God's providence many and great afflictions proceed: despondency, murmurings, envy, avarice, love of money or the passion for amassing money and property in general, so that it may last for many years, in order to eat, drink, sleep and enjoy; from want of trust in God's providence proceed in particular afflictions such as arise, for instance: from some loss of income through our own oversight, from the loss of objects, specially valuable and necessary, as well as immoderate joy at recovering some objects, or at receiving some large income or gain, or some profitable place or employment. We, as Christians, as "fellow citizens with the Saints and of the household of God,"574574Ephesians ii. 19. ought to commit all our life, together with all its sorrows, sicknesses, griefs, joys, scarcities and abundance unto Christ our God.

"He hath shewed strength with His arm: He hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He hath shewed strength with His arm" means that the Lord, through His incarnation, reigned over the enemies of our salvation, and, having conquered them by His power, and 229 made His Mother Sovereign Queen of heaven and earth, "He hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts," that is, the Devil and the powers assisting him, the spirits of evil, He conquered them on the cross, scattering their hordes." He hath put down the mighty from their seats," that is, the fallen angel, Satan, who reigned over mankind; and "exalted them of low degree," that is, the Mother of God, and all humble Christians. "He hath filled the hungry with good things," for instance: that same Most-pure, gracious Lady and other Saints—and" the rich He hath sent empty away,"575575St. Luke i. 51-54. that is: the demons who would have richly filled the abysses of hell with prisoners—the human souls, which were brought to the light of Christ's Kingdom by the Saviour, when He descended into hell.

We only call the Lord, God, but in reality we have our own gods, because we do not do the Will of God, but the will and thoughts of our flesh, the will of our heart, of our passions; our gods are—our flesh, pleasures, money, dress, etc.

What vanities, what foolish fancies often occupy most of us, even in sight of the highest, the most important objects of faith, in sight of the greatest holiness. For instance, when a man stands before the icons of the Lord, of the Mother of God, of an Angel, of an Archangel, of one or a whole assembly of Saints, at home or in the temple, and, sometimes, instead of prayer, instead of laying aside, at this time, in this place, all worldly cares, he casts up his accounts and reckonings, goes over his expenses and receipts, rejoices at the gain, and grieves at the loss of profits, or the failure of some undertaking (without, of course, a single thought of spiritual profit or loss), or else he thinks evil of his neighbour, exaggerating his weakness, his passions, suspecting him, envying him, judging him, or if it is in church, he looks at the faces of those, standing near him, also how they are dressed, who is nice looking, and who not, or making plans what he shall do, in what pleasure or vanity he will spend the day, and so on. And this often happens at the time when the greatest, the most heavenly Sacrament of the Eucharist, that is, of the most-pure Body and Blood of our Lord, is being celebrated; when we ought to be wholly in God, wholly occupied in meditations on the mystery accomplished for our sakes, of the redemption from sin, from the eternal curse and death; and on the mystery of our being made godly in the Lord Jesus Christ. How low we have fallen, how earthly-minded we have become, and from what does it 230 all proceed? From inattention, and the neglect of our salvation, from attachment to temporal things, from weakness of faith, or unbelief in eternity.

How is it that all nature, and everything in nature, is so wisely arranged, and moves in such wonderful order? It is because the Creator Himself directs and governs it. How is it that in the nature of man—the crown of creation—there is so much disorder? Why are there so many irregularities and deformities in his life? Because he took upon himself to direct and govern himself, against the Will and Wisdom of his Creator. Sinful man! give yourself up wholly, all your life unto the Lord your God, and all your life will move in wise, beautiful, stately, and life-giving order, and will all become beautiful as the lives of God's Saints, who gave themselves up entirely to Christ their God, and whom the Church daily offers to us, as an example to imitate.

Value highly, and always preserve Christian meekness and kindness, mutual peace and love, crushing by every possible means the impulses of self-love, malice, irritability, and disturbance. Do not be disturbed and angered, when anybody tells you a falsehood to your face, or claims any unjust pretension, or speaks offensively, or boldly detects any of your weaknesses or passions, the wrongfulness of which, through your self-love, you did not suspect. Always first coolly reflect over what your opponent says to you, as well as over your own words and conduct, and, if, upon an entirely impartial consideration of your words and actions, you find them just, then let your conscience be at rest, and do not heed the words of your adversary, either remaining silent before him, or showing him his error quietly, gently, in all kindness of heart; but should you find yourself guilty of that, which your adversary detects in you, then, putting aside self-love and pride, ask pardon for your fault, and endeavour to correct yourself in future. We are often angry with straightforward, frank people for openly disclosing our iniquities. We ought to value such people, and forgive them, if by their bold speaking they break down our self-love. They are, in a moral sense, the surgeons who cut off, with a sharp word, the rottenness of the heart, and through arousing our self-love, they awaken, in the soul deadened by sin, a consciousness of sin and a vital reaction.

"The Kingdom of Heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force."576576St. Matthew xi. 12. If we do daily strive to conquer 231 the passions, which fight against us, and to gain the Kingdom of God in our heart, then the passions will tyrannically, forcibly take possession of us, will invade our soul like robbers; our attachments to earthly things will increase in proportion as our faith in heavenly blessings and love for them grows weaker and weaker; our love for God and our neighbour—will also grow weaker and weaker; we shall enjoy rest of conscience and peace of heart more and more seldom. We must struggle in the matter of the salvation of the soul, which is more precious than anything in the world; we must count everything earthly as dross, or as a phantom, a vision, and everything heavenly, above all, the Lord Himself—as truth itself, eternal, most-blessed, and unchangeable.

We all love life, are anxious, and strive for a happy life, and yet our life is corrupted by passions. Wherefore? Because we do not seek life where we should.

To the young, and to all grown up people. Remember, that the moral law of God continually acts in the world, in accordance with which, every good is inwardly rewarded, whilst every evil is punished. Evil is accompanied by affliction and straitness of heart, and good—by peace, joy, and expansion of the heart. This law is unchangeable: for it is the law of the unchangeable, all-holy, righteous, most-wise, and eternal God. Those who do good, or who fulfil this moral or Gospel law (which is also a moral law, only the most perfect) shall be infallibly rewarded by eternal life, while its transgressors, and those who have not repented of its transgression shall be punished by eternal torment.

God is that Which Is (Existing). In Him, all the Saints, all reasonable and free beings are—one. "As Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us." 577577St. John xvii. 21. I, myself, am—nothing: God is everything in me, God is in all, and God is everything to all—"Our Father, Which art in heaven!"

When you call in prayer upon the Lord God in Three Persons, remember that you are calling upon the unoriginate Father of all creatures, angels, and men; that all the heavenly Powers are in wonderment at you as you call upon Him, and look lovingly upon you that you are able to call with faith, love, and becoming reverence upon our and their common Father, the Almighty, Creator and Lord, Whom they love boundlessly, Whom they reverence deeply. O, what 232 great happiness and blessedness, what an honour, how sublime a thing it is to be able to call upon the eternal Father! Value continually and unchangeably this highest happiness, this blessedness which the infinite mercy of God has reserved to you, and do not forget it during the time of your prayer. God hears you, God's saints and angels hear you. (February 26th, 1864.) I shed tears while writing these lines.

"Christ is all and in all"578578Colossians iii. 11. (in the holy angels, in holy men, and in Christians living, or endeavouring to live holily upon earth), "and gave Him to be the Head over all things to the Church, which is His body."579579Ephesians i. 22,23. Thus, the Church—God's saints, the Mother of God, the angels, the prelates, the martyrs, the holy fathers, the righteous, and all holy persons—are the Saviour's body, and He Himself is — their Head. Our Lady, the Mother of God, is — the Sovereign of mental edification — that is, Our Lady and all the Saints are — one spirit with the Lord: so pure and holy are they, and they have the same relation to Him, or the same union with Him, as the members of a body to the head, and there is one spirit in them, the Spirit of God; as the soul is in one body, so is the one God and Father in them. And we — as the members of the earthly Church are also— one body.

Our Lady, the Mother of God, is the most beautifully adorned temple of the Holy Trinity. She is, after God, the treasury of all blessings, of purity, holiness, of all true wisdom, the source of spiritual power and constancy.

We are — one body of love. Food, drink, money, dress, houses, all earthly attributes are — nothing, whilst man is — everything; nothing is so precious as man. Man, by his soul, is immortal, whilst everything material is perishable and ephemeral; everything material is like dust. Everything is God's, nothing is ours. Man! esteem the dignity of man, as the image of God and in the time of his need, do not grudge him any material help.

Everything, except true love, is an illusion. If a friend behaves coldly, rudely, spitefully, insolently to you, say — this is an illusion of the enemy, if a feeling of enmity, arising from your friend's coldness and insolence, disturbs you, say: — this is an illusion of mine; but the truth is, that I love my friend, in spite of everything, and I do not wish to see evil in him, which is an illusion of the demon, and which is in me also; I will be indulgent to his faults, for they are in me also; we have — the same sinful nature. You say that your friend has sins and great 233 defects? So have you. — You say, that you do not love him because of such and such sins and defects. Then do not love yourself either, because you have the same sins and defects as he has. But remember, that the Lamb of God took upon Himself the sins of the whole world. "Who art thou that judgest another man's servant" for his sins, defects, and vices? Everyone " to his own master standeth or falleth."580580Romans xiv. 4. But, in accordance with Christian love, you must be indulgent in every possible way to the faults of your neighbour, you must cure him of his wickedness, of his spiritual infirmity (for every coldness, every passion is an infirmity) by love, kindness, meekness, humility, as you yourself would wish to receive from others, when you suffer from a similar infirmity. For who is not subject to infirmity? Whom does the most evil enemy spare? Lord! destroy all the snares of the enemy in us.

Remember what man is. He is the image of God, a child of God, a Christian, an inheritor of the Kingdom, a member of Christ. We must therefore esteem every man, although he may bear in his soul the wounds of sins. The wounds — are wounds; they are made by the Devil and sin, but still the image is the image of God. We must pity him for his wounds, grieve, pray for him as for ourselves: for we are all — one body. "And hath made of one blood all nations."581581Act xvii. 26 "We are all partakers of that one bread." 5825821 Corinthians x. 17.Do not pay attention to diabolical disturbances, separations, and animosities. Repeat: everything is — one. Say: we are — one.

Count all worldly delights as — dross and corruption; do not love anything earthly, do not grudge anything earthly to any man, and do not nourish any animosity against him through such things. Love aspires to rejoice the beloved and is sparing of nothing.

Lord, grant that I may see my transgressions, that I may not despise sinners, like unto myself, and may not nourish any ill-feeling in my heart against them for their sins, that I may despise myself as I deserve, as the greatest of sinners, and that I may ever feel an implacable hatred of myself — of mine own carnal man: "If any man.....hate not.....his own life he cannot be My disciple,"583583St. Luke xiv. 26 says the Lord.

God is the Creator and Ruler of the whole world and everything in it is — His work, the fruit of His power and Wisdom.

234

There is no need to ask anyone whether we ought to spread or propagate the Glory of God, either by writing, or by word, or by good works. This we are obliged to do according to our power and possibility. We must make use of our talents. If you think much about such a simple matter, then, perhaps, the Devil may suggest to you such foolishness as that you need only be inwardly active.

The principal characteristic of this present, temporal life is temptation.

What is sweeter than love? And yet there is not much love in us! Wherefore? We love our flesh exceedingly, and with it everything carnal, material and earthly! Let us, therefore, despise the flesh and walk by the spirit, mortifying the works of the flesh by the spirit.

Avarice occasions a waste of love, and inspires hatred against those who deprive or rob us of our property; whilst hearty generosity arouses love for those, to whom we are liberal; forced generosity, however, also produces dislike. Avarice proceeds from—the Devil, generosity from—God. He is the Father of bounties. Every attachment to material things proceeds from--the Devil; neglect, contempt of material things and indifference to them, for the love of God—from God. Amen.

"My yoke is easy, and My burden is light."584584St. Matthew xi. Thus the Lord's commandments are easy and light. Whilst the Devil's yoke is evil, and his burden heavy. But what do we see? We transgress the Lord's commandments and fulfil those of the Devil. How accursed are we!

Always remember that your neighbour, whoever he may be, if he is a Christian, is a member of Christ, though he may be a sick one, but then you yourself are also sick, and you must always receive him with respect and love, converse with him heartily, entertain him, and not grudge him anything: neither food, drink, clothes, books, nor money, if he has need of them. The Lord will reward you for him. We are all His children, and He is—everything to us. We are all sinners, and "the wages of sin are—misfortunes, troubles, sorrow and sickness, and—"death."585585Romans vi. In order to be saved from sin, we must pray; and in order to pray, we must have faith and hope. Thus for us sinners, prayer, faith and hope, are most necessary. Prayer ought not to cease coming from the mental, and even from the outward lips of a sinner.

235

During prayer at home and at church against the craftiness of the Devil, and the distraction of your thoughts, remind yourself of the simplicity of truth, and say to yourself: " simply," I believe in everything that I ask in the simplicity of my heart, and ask for everything simply; whilst all mine enemy's—craftiness, blasphemies, abomination, and illusions—I renounce. Let the origin, and the foundation, and the source of all your thoughts, words, and works be humility, the consciousness of your own nothingness, and the fulness of the Godhead Which hath created and filleth everything, and "worketh all in all."5865861 Corinthians xii. 6. He who is infected by pride is inclined to show contempt for everything, even for holy and Divine objects: pride mentally destroys or defiles every good thought, word, act, every creation of God. It is the deadly breathing of Satan.

What hinders you from fulfilling Christ's commandments The flesh and the world: that is, pleasant food and drink, which men like, in which they delight both in thought and in fact, which make the heart gross and hard—a partiality for elegant dress and adornment, or for distinctions and rewards; if the dress or adornments are made of very beautiful coloured and delicate materials, then care and anxiety arise how to avoid staining or soiling them, or getting them dusty or wet, whilst care and anxiety how to please God in thought, word, and deed vanish and the heart lives for dress and adornment, and becomes entirely engrossed in these things, ceasing to care about God and being united to Him; if such is the case with a priest, then he neglects praying for his people, and becomes not soul-loving, but money-loving and ambitious, seeking not the men themselves, but that which appertains to them, that is, money, food, drink, their favour, their good opinion and good word, and flattering them. Therefore fight against every worldly enticement, against every material enticement that hinders you from fulfilling Christ's commandments, love God with all your heart, and care with all your strength for the salvation of your own soul, and the souls of others, be soul-loving. Remember, that the world, which rose from nothing, is indeed nothingness, and will return to nothing, for heaven and earth shall pass away, but the human soul, the breath of God, the image of the immortal King is itself immortal. Remember all this, and renounce attachments to all earthly things. Besides looking upon corruptible creatures and created things turn your eyes constantly to the Creator, Who is in every creature, and Who constantly looks upon you, constantly proving your heart and your thoughts. Do not cling with your heart to anything, and do not make it the god of your heart; the sole God of our heart 236 must be the Lord-God, Who created it: for our heart is His breath. Do not cleave with your whole heart unto any person, that is to any flesh, for the sole God of our heart must be the Lord-God, and to Him only must we cleave. For attachment to material things, or to flesh, is a lie, an enticement of Satan and the will of the Devil. Amen.

By attaching ourselves to mere nothingness, to transitory things, what do we lose?—of what blessings do we deprive ourselves and are deprived? The Lord has told thee, my soul, that the whole visible world in comparison to thee is nothing. Therefore, count it as nothing, and see for what purpose the Creator has created thee and what He wishes to make thee. Remember how the Son of God came down upon earth; how He walked upon earth, announcing the good tidings of heavenly truth; His voluntary poverty; His miracles and prophecies: His last supper; His shame; His sufferings, death, resurrection, and ascension into heaven; and aim and aspire to heavenly bliss.

True love willingly bears privations, troubles, and labours; endures offences, humiliations, defects, sins, and injustices, if they do not harm others; bears patiently and meekly with the baseness and malice of others, leaving judgment to the all-seeing God, the righteous Judge, and praying that He may teach those who are darkened by senseless passions.

During prayer, and when reading God's Word, we must reverence every thought, every word, as the Spirit of God Himself, the Spirit of Truth. We must extirpate doubt and contempt for the Word as a poison of the spirit of falsehood; and as doubt and contempt are the fruits of self-conceit and pride, we must eradicate pride, and be like infants, lisping in their simplicity before God—like infants, who know and say only that which their parents have taught them, and who do not hear or know any suggestions different to those of their parents, and do not even wish to listen to or know them. For the Holy Ghost taught the Holy Fathers, like simple-hearted and gentle children, how to pray; to thank and praise God by means of those prayers which the Church puts into our mouths. Remember that all of us are the children of the Heavenly Father, and in the simplicity of your soul look upon all as upon the children of the Eternal Father, holy, most good, omnipresent, omniscient, Almighty, most wise, righteous, unchangeable, providing for all and protecting all under the wings of His goodness; and live in love with all, conquering every evil in men by good.

237

What a high dignity, honour, and happiness it is to pray for men, for this precious possession and inheritance of God! With what gladness, boldness, zeal, and love we must pray to God, the Father of mankind, for His people, redeemed unto Him by the blood of His Son! " These were redeemed from among men, being the first fruits unto God and to the Lamb."587587Revelation xiv. 4 Hear, O priests of God! To you it often happens to converse with God by means of a set form of prayer. Do not let your tongue speak falsely, your lips saying one thing and having another in your heart, or saying and not feeling what you say. If you are praying for anyone, do not let there be any diabolical craftiness and duplicity in you, but pray to the Almighty God, " Who trieth the very hearts and reins,"588588Psalm vii. 10. with your heart as well as your lips. And in order that you may always pray sincerely to the Lord God, despise everything earthly; be without partiality for all the goods and delights of this seductive, corrupt, and fleeting world—food, drink, pleasures, money, dress, and various ornaments and distinctions, the comfort of your temporary abode—consider all this as dross, corruption, and water; be temperate; love God with all your heart, un-dividedly —not only superficially or anyhow—love him with all your mind and all your strength, and not slightly, so that nothing could tear you away from the love of God: neither sorrow, nor oppression, nor persecutions and misfortunes, nor death, nor life, nor anything else; and love your neighbour as your own self, magnanimously bearing with his faults, infirmities, errors, the outbreak of his passions. Remember it is a great matter to converse with God, Who continually sees us, continually hears us, trying our hearts and reins. Do not let your heart lie; do not let it be cold towards God and your neighbour during the time of prayer for your neighbour. Remember God shall judge you for everything, for every idle or insincere word. And meanwhile the enemy from time immemorial, the father of lies, the Devil, does not slumber, and endeavours to harden by every means your passionate heart and to make it insensible, false, and crafty; endeavours to drive away from your heart faith and hope in God, together with love for Him and love and sympathy for your neighbour, and to occupy you solely with worldly, temporal interests. Watch, watch yourself, the thoughts of your heart, O priest of God, and do not bind yourself by worldly, carnal desires and pleasures. Let your happiness be the one God and the human soul; be soul-loving, and not money-loving or sensual. Lord, accomplish all this Thyself, for without Thee we can do nothing.589589St. John xv. 5. So be it! So be it!

The most merciful and bountiful Lord is everything to all 238 and to me, a miserable sinner, and I have nothing of mine own (the renunciation of every possession). I ought to reverently thank God for everything—for the currents of air, light, water, for every mouthful of food, for clothes. Everything, even our bodies themselves, are indeed only earth and water. Amen.

We are all one, and must love one another as ourselves. The selfish grudging of anything to another, and the vexation at giving, the impulse to grudge, proceed from the Devil. Every attachment to earthly things is an enticement of the Devil and of our own self-love.

What does the holy Church instil in us by putting in our mouths, both during prayer at home and in church, prayers addressed, not by a single person, but by all? She instils in us constant, mutual love, in order that we should always and in everything, during prayer and during worldly intercourse, love one another as our own selves—in order that we, imitating God in three Persons, constituting the highest Unity, should ourselves be one formed of many. " That they all may be one, as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us."590590St. John xvii. 21.

Common prayer on the part of all teaches us also to share earthly needs with others, so that in life also we may have everything in common and as one— that is, that mutual love should be evident in everything, and that each one should use his capacities for the good of others, not hiding his talent in the ground—that he should not be selfish and idle. If you are wise, give advice to the foolish. If you are educated, teach the ignorant. If you are strong, help the weak; if rich, help the poor.

When you are praying alone, and your spirit is dejected, and you are wearied and oppressed by your loneliness, remember then, as always, that God the Trinity looks upon you with eyes brighter than the sun; also all the angels, your own Guardian Angel, and all the saints of God. Truly they do; for they are all one in God, and where God is, there are they also. Where the sun is, thither also are directed all its rays. Try to understand what this means. Always pray with a fervent heart; and to attain to this, never eat and drink excessively. Remember with Whom you are conversing. Men very often forget with Whom they are conversing during prayer, Who are the witnesses of their prayer. They forget that they are conversing with the Vigilant and the All-seeing God; that all the Heavenly Powers and the saints of God are listening to their converse.

239

If enemies surround you, and you are in spiritual distress, call immediately upon our Most Holy Lady. She is Queen in order that she may reign, by Her sovereign power, over the powers that oppose us, and may mightily succour us, for we are Her inheritance.

We are all one, and there is one Lord for all—for the angels, for the saints, for all material worlds, and for each smallest part of them. "Behold the fowls of the air. . . . Consider the lilies of the field. ... If God so clothe the grass of the field . . . shall He not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? ...591591St. Matthew vi. 26, 28.

Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness" (mutual love), "and all these things shall be added unto you"592592St. Matthew vi. 30, 33 (from God). This is the most indispensable truth for you. Follow it! Set your hope in everything upon God. "Casting all your care upon Him, for He careth for you."5935931 Peter v. 7. Indeed, how is it possible to live as we live, as though there were no God caring for us? We think to order everything ourselves. We think to provide for ourselves, setting aside the thought of God, Who careth for us all.

Do not merely not care for pleasures and fine things, but do not even care for your own sinful flesh; for by the slightest attachment to all these things you anger God. "While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal."5945942 Corinthians iv. 18. You see, therefore, that you are not to pay attention to visible things — let them be as though they did not exist; but you must pay attention to invisible things; for the former are temporal, and the latter eternal. Besides this, if you seek the invisible, then God will provide the visible for you, as He has done until now.

What greatness it is for a Christian, and above all for a Christian priest, that he becomes one with Christ and God the Saviour through the Holy Sacrament!

When communicating of the Holy Mysteries yourself, O priest, say in your heart: " Come unto me, Life-Giver, to rescue me from the jaws of the serpent of hell, to cleanse me from the impurity of passions, to appease my troubled heart, to give life to my deadened soul, to rejoice my sorrowful and despondent spirit. Come to feed me, starving from sinful 240 hunger; to clothe me, naked of every virtue; to strengthen me, the infirm; to honour me, the dishonoured; to exalt me, the base; to ennoble me, the despised; to enlighten my darkened soul. Thou bestowest every blessing upon me. I thank thee, O Most Merciful One!"

Our heart is like the darkened earth; the Gospel is like the sun, enlightening and giving life to our hearts. May the true sun of Thy righteousness shine in our hearts, O Lord!

When I look more closely upon some of the poor, and talk with them, then I see how meek, lovable, humble, simple-hearted, truly kind, poor in body, but rich in spirit they are. They make me—I who am rough, proud, evil, scornful, irritable, crafty, cold towards God and men, envious and avaricious ashamed of myself. These are the true friends of God. And the enemy, being aware of their spiritual treasures, awakens in his servants—that is, in proud, rich men—contempt and ill-feeling towards them, and would like to wipe them off the face of the earth, as if they had no right to live and walk upon it. O, friends of my God, my poor brethren! It is you who are the truly rich in spirit, whilst I am the real beggar, accursed and poor! You are worthy of sincere respect from us, who possess the blessings of this world in abundance, but who are poor and needy in virtues: abstinence, meekness, humility, kindness sincerity, fervour, and warmth towards God and our neighbour. Lord! teach me to despise outward things, to turn my mental vision inwardly, and to value inward, and despise outward things. Grant that I may observe this in my relations towards the rich and powerful of this world!

A miser values things, and does not value the man who requires these things; he is sparing of the things and unsparing to the man, though the man is a priceless being. He does not grudge himself anything; but he grudges giving to others; he loves himself, and does not love others. But in general everything is dross and water. The inexhaustible Lord is everything to all. He has subdued the whole world like dust and hay under the feet of man.

" Charity suffereth long"5955951 Corinthians xiii. 4. —that is, it does not immediately punish the one who sins, but patiently endures his lapses, teaching and correcting him; whilst the nature of malice is to immediately strike an antagonist, or to make him unhappy, pushing him to extremes. It is amazing how evil 241 and impatient we are! If our brother has sinned, we are not sorry that he sins, we do not weep from brotherly love at his wilful insanity, at his passion; but we bear malice against him, we despise him for his sins; whilst meanwhile, perhaps we ourselves are, or were, guilty of the same, and were indulgently forgiven our sins, and, only thanks to the indulgence of our superiors, have at last somehow corrected ourselves of these failings, passions, and. vices, and become good for anything. If we happen to be even now guilty of the same sins, only not so gravely as our erring brother, it signifies that we too are answerable for them. How, then, can we be otherwise than indulgent to our erring brethren? Thus, in punishing others for sins and crimes, we must also remember our own weaknesses, our vices and passions, past and present, and punish our subordinates lovingly, pityingly, and patiently, and not angrily, not pitilessly, impatiently, hastily. " In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; and that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the Devil, who are taken captive by him at his will."5965962 Timothy ii. 25, 26. It was not without reason that the Apostle placed long-suffering and mercy as the first signs of our love for our neighbour: " Charity suffereth long, and is kind"5975971 Corinthians xiii. 4: for every man is infirm, weak, rash, easily inclined to every sin, but at the same time he may also easily think better of it, rise up, and repent under favourable conditions; and therefore it is necessary to be patient to his infirmities and sins, as we ourselves would wish others to be indulgent to our infirmities, and, seeing them, be as though they did not see them and did not notice them. But in those cases, however, where the sin acts injuriously upon others, or when it is connected with the omission of the duties of our calling, or when it attains great dimensions, then an immediate strictness is necessary for restraining or putting a stop to it, or for removing the injurious person from the midst of well-intentioned people. " Put away from among yourselves that wicked person."5985981 Corinthians v. 13.

God did not spare for our sakes even His Only Begotten Son. How, then, after this can we grudge anything to our neighbour: either food, drink, clothing, or money for his various needs? The Lord gives much to some and little to others in order that we may provide for each other. The Lord has so ordered that if we willingly share the bountiful gifts of His mercy with others, then they serve to benefit our souls and bodies, by opening our hearts to the love of our neighbour, 242 whilst our moderation in using them serves to benefit our body, which does not become satiated and overloaded by them. But if we use these gifts selfishly, avariciously, and greedily, for ourselves only, and grudge them to others, then they become injurious to our soul and body - injurious to the soul, because greediness and avarice close the heart to the love of God and our neighbour, and make us repulsive, self-lovers, increasing all our passions; and injurious to the body, because greediness produces satiety in us, and prematurely impairs our health.

We ought to confess our sins more frequently, in order to strike and scourge the sins by the open avowal of them, and in order to feel a greater loathing for them. Think, man, into what misery audacious sin has cast you, and what has been done for your salvation by our Master, Christ, the Son of God; remember His Incarnation, His voluntary self-extinction, His intercourse with men, His words, His miracles, how He was mocked, reviled, spat upon, scourged, buffeted, and, lastly, remember His most shameful crucifixion upon the cross, His death and burial, and His resurrection from the dead. Think what he bore to save us from everlasting torments, and what he requires from you in return: that you should give yourself up wholly to Him; that you should live, not for yourself, but for him, fulfilling His commandments. Shun, therefore, everything that draws you into sin: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life; crucify your flesh, with its passions and lusts; save your soul by patience; love God, and your neighbour as yourself.

What has the Lord of our life done for us insignificant, ungrateful, and evil-natured creatures? He came down from heaven, He assumed our flesh, worked many and various miracles; He suffered, shed all His blood, died, descended into hell, bound Satan, destroyed hell, freed the prisoners bound in hell, and brought them up to heaven. He rose from the dead in order to raise us also with Him. Let us fulfil His last will and testament; let us love one another; let us be diligent in fulfilling His other commandments, and let us cease offending Him by our self-will and resistance. Lord, help us!

We ought to be one spirit with the Lord - the spirit of holiness, the spirit of love, of goodness, meekness, long-suffering, mercy. He that has not this spirit in him is not of God. Thus I ought to be love, solely love, counting all as 243 one "That they all may be one."599599St. John xvii. 21. May it be so! Lord, help me!

How will it be with us in the future life, when everything that has gratified us in this world: riches, honours, food and drink, dress, beautifully furnished dwellings, and all attractive objects---how will it be, I say, when all these things leave us---when they will all seem to us a dream, and when works of faith and virtue, of abstinence, purity, meekness, humility, mercy, patience, obedience, and others will be required of us?

We ought to have the most lively spiritual union with the heavenly inhabitants, with all the saints, apostles, prophets, martyrs, prelates, venerable and righteous men, as they are all members of one single body, the Church of Christ, to which we sinners also belong, and the living Head of which is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. This is why we call upon them in prayer, converse with them, thank and praise them. It is urgently necessary for all Christians to be in union with them if they desire to make Christian progress; for the saints are our friends, our guides to salvation, who pray and intercede for us.

Trample the flesh under foot---that is, its passions. Put it and everything carnal on a level with the dirt, and do not care for it. Lord, Thine is the power; help us! When we count everything carnal and sinful as nothing, then the Lord will be everything to us. The Lord shall then reign in our hearts, upon the ruins of our earthly attachments.

Through our attachment to the flesh, its lusts, or through excessive estimation of the flesh and of everything carnal, the Devil reigns in our hearts, fulfilling his impious will, driving God's kingdom from our hearts, and destroying the work of Jesus Christ, our elevation into heaven. This is true! "Despise the flesh, for it passeth away."600600Troparian to a Saint, a reverend holy Father. But in the present time men of this world set all value upon the flesh and carnal things, and none on the spirit and spiritual things, such as faith and virtue.

The Lord does not dwell in the heart in which reign greediness and attachment to earthly blessings, to earthly pleasures, money, etc. This is daily proved by experience. In such a heart dwell cruelty, pride, presumption, scornfulness, malice, vengeance, envy, avarice, vanity, and boastfulness; 244 theft, deceitfulness, hypocrisy, and dissimulation; craftiness, flattery, cringing, fornication, profane speaking, violence, treachery, and perjury.

We are all one through unanimity and love, and through spiritual regeneration, and the heavenly Father is everything to all of us. "Our Father, Which art in heaven." We are one brotherhood, with one spirit. "Now, if any man have not the spirit of Christ, he is none of His."601601Romans viii. 9. Let us understand this. We are the Church of Christ, of which the Head is Christ Himself, Who is meek and humble, inexhaustible in His mercies to us, if only we live in mutual love. We are the flock; He is the Shepherd. We are the members; He is the Head. How can the members be proud of anything, when they receive everything from the Head?

If we are in lively, active union with the members of Christ here, if we love them in deed and in truth, then God's saints will be in lively, active union with us, and whatever we ask them they will obtain for us from Christ our God, for Whose sake they sacrificed all that was dear to them.

Do we who have received life from God, the Life of all, bring to Him as an offering our life, the fruits of our life, as did our forefathers, the prophets, apostles, martyrs, prelates, venerable and righteous men, and all the saints? Do we even think of this daily? Do we not only live for ourselves? Do we live in accordance with the commandments and ordinances of the Life-Giver? If not, what prevents our doing so! The love of ourselves, self-love. Let us offer our self-love as a sacrifice of love to the Lord, for what are we of ourselves? Sin, corruption.

You are daily asked for alms, and you ought daily to give willingly, without anger, harshness, and murmuring. You do not give your own, but you give that which belongs to God, to God's children, who bear the cross, and have scarcely where to lay their heads. You are only a steward of God's property; you are the daily servant of the least of Christ's brethren; and therefore you must fulfil your duty meekly, humbly, and unwearyingly. You will thus be serving Christ, the Judge and Recompenser---a great honour, a high dignity! Do good work with gladness. Money comes to you easily, without great labour; and you should distribute it easily, without thinking much about it. Your labours are generously rewarded; be generous to others. They are not rewarded in accordance with 245 their merit; do not give to others in accordance with their merits, but for their need's sake.

As a passionate man is one spirit with the Devil---and this I and many others feel and experience---so a virtuous man is and remains one spirit with the Lord, and this he feels and experiences, saying: "I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me"602602Galatians ii. 20.; or, as it has been said by the Lord himself: "He that eateth My flesh and drinketh My blood dwelleth in me, and I in him"603603St. John vi. 56.; or, again, as the Apostle said: " Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you?"6046042 Corinthians xiii. 5. Thus God's saints are one spirit with the Lord; likewise all those who live piously upon earth. This is a great mystery and a great honour for earthborn creatures. But, also, what shame and destruction it is to the sophistical and disobedient! They are one spirit with the Devil, from whom, Christ our God, deliver us all!

If the truth of something has been revealed in the Word of God, has been investigated and explained to us by the Divinely enlightened mind of the saints, whom God has glorified, and has been recognised by the heart in its light and life-giving effect, then it is a great sin and diabolical pride of the intellect and heart to doubt it and to be perplexed about it.

I myself am every moment a debtor to the Lord, both spiritually and bodily: spiritually through my sins, and bodily through freely receiving His material gifts: food, drink, money, clothing, air, warmth, light, and in general the various comforts of life. How, then, can it be otherwise than a happiness to me to forgive the debts of my neighbour, both spiritual and material, when the Lord forgives me the innumerable multitude of my own debts? How can I do otherwise than freely give the gifts that belong to the Lord when the Lord freely bestows upon me innumerable spiritual and material blessings---the light of the intellect and heart, peace and joy to the heart, a variety of knowledge, and everything else, down to the currents of air? It would be monstrous to do otherwise. We are all one body and members one of another, and are absolutely mutually indebted for something; as in the social body it is impossible to avoid others being indebted to us, or our being indebted to others. And it is impossible for us not to forgive each others debts; as in the body some members naturally often live at the expense of the others---for instance, the stomach at the expense of the head, or of the hands and feet---so it is also amongst men. But the chief thing is to 246 remember that we receive everything freely from God, that we are indebted to Him infinitely much, and that He lovingly forgives us our trespasses, on condition that we forgive them that trespass against us. Let us, therefore, willingly and heartily forgive our neighbours their trespasses against us; let us daily offer this sacrifice unto God and live in love. Let us renounce self-will and the tumult of passions, and entirely submit to the will of God. We are the image of God, and " God is love."6056051 John iv. 8, 16. Let us, therefore, live in love; let us strive for love with all our might. Lord help us! But let us count everything earthly---food, dress, money---as dross, and do not let us anger God through this dross, by bearing ill-will or enmity against each other. Is it possible that we should sell our Lord for food, for money? One thing only: either God or the flesh. We cannot acknowledge two gods, we cannot serve two. The flesh dictates its own laws to us entirely opposite to the laws of God: gluttony, intemperance, trust in food, drink, money, avarice, or grudging God's gifts to our neighbour; ill will to our neighbour, through food, drink, money; contempt for him through the same hard-heartedness towards his misfortunes, and so on. What must we do, then, in order not to serve God hypocritically? We must crucify the flesh, with its passions and lusts, counting it as nothing, and everything that it values much, that it loves---pleasures, dress, money, houses, carriages---likewise as nothing, as dross, corruption, earth, as indeed they really are; but count love as the most precious thing in life, sacrificing everything to it, submitting everything to it, and neglecting everything for it.

Everyone must know and believe that there is a spiritual, deadly serpent, called the Devil, or Satan, condemned by the Creator to everlasting torments, that can lead away into everlasting torment those who do not believe, are unrighteous and impenitent. Everyone must know and believe that the Saviour was sent from God into the world in order to save men from the deadly shafts of this serpent---that is, from sin and everlasting death; and that this Saviour bestows upon all His saving, healing remedies against the bites of this serpent: faith, penitence, and the Holy Mysteries of His Body and Blood.

There are many drops of rain, but all proceed from a single cloud; there are many rays of the sun, but all proceed from one sun; there are many leaves on a tree, but all are produced by a single tree; there are many grains of sand upon the earth, but they are all from the one same earth. There are also many 247 men, but they all of them derive their origin from the one same Adam, and before all, from God.

For what purpose does the Lord add day after day, year after year, to our existence ] In order that we may gradually put away, cast aside, evil from our souls, each one his own, and acquire blessed simplicity; in order that we may become, for instance, gentle as lambs, simple as infants; in order that we may learn not to have the least attachment to earthly things, but like loving, simple children, may cling with all our hearts to God alone, and love Him with, all our hearts, all our souls, all our strength, and all our thoughts, and our neighbour as ourselves. Let us hasten; therefore, to pray to the Lord, fervently and tearfully, to grant us simplicity of heart, and let us strive by every means to cast out the evil from our souls— for instance, evil suspiciousness, malevolence, malignity, malice, pride, arrogance, boastfulness, scornfulness, impatience, despondency, despair, irascibility and irritability, tearfulness and faintheartedness, envy, avarice, gluttony, and satiety; fornication, mental and of the heart, and actual fornication; the love of money, and in general the passion for acquisition; slothful-ness, disobedience, and all the dark horde of sins. Lord, without Thee we can do nothing! Bless us Thyself in this work, and give us the victory over our enemies and our passions. So be it!

Let us put away from us our spiritual short-sightedness, and let us cease concentrating all our attention upon temporal, earthly things; let us foresee with our mental vision the future, everlasting life, and rise in our hearts to our heavenly country. Indeed, it is wonderful short-sightedness for the immortal soul only to look upon the present, visible things, generally relating to the senses, and flattering our carnal nature, and not contemplate the life of the world to come—the blessings which "eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man," but which the Most Merciful and the Most Wise " God hath prepared for them that love Him."6066061 Corinthians ii. 9. Of what do we not deprive ourselves through this voluntary short-sightedness! Like flies we adhere to earthly sweets, and do not wish to rise up, to tear ourselves away from them. Blessed is he who despises the joys of this world; there shall be no end to his bliss.

As in the earthly life there are poor and rich, so also in the spiritual life", in the spiritual order, there are also poor and rich. As the poor ask charity of the rich and well-to-do, 248 and cannot live without their help, so also in the spiritual order the poor must have recourse to the spiritually rich. We are the spiritually poor, whilst the saints, or those who shine even in this present life by their faith and piety, are the spiritually rich. It is to them that we needy ones must have recourse. We must beg for their prayers that they may help us to become simple as infants; that they may teach us spiritual wisdom, how to conquer sins, how to love God and our neighbour. And therefore pray for me, saints of God—prophets, apostles, martyrs, prelates, venerable and righteous men—that I may become like unto you!

When you pray to the Lord, represent to yourself vividly to whom you are praying. You are praying to the unoriginated, endless King of all creatures, to the All-holy, All-merciful, Almighty, Most-wise, Omnipreseat, All-righteous God, Whom millions of millions of angels of various orders revere, Whom the armies of martyrs, the companies of prophets and apostles, the assemblies of prelates, venerable and righteous men praise. When you pray to the Holy Virgin, Our Lady, also represent to yourself Her unprecedented holiness, Her greatness, mercy, wisdom, Her helpfulness to all, and the humble worship rendered unto Her by the assemblies of angels and men.

We must constantly bear in remembrance and strive to live in accordance with the mystery of our redemption by Christ, His sufferings, His death on the cross, and His resurrection and ascension, and His second coming; we must honour above all the holiness of the Mother of God as the living ark and temple of the Godhead, and ask Her, after the Lord Himself, for cleansing and holiness, and steadfastness in faith and love.

Avoid flattery, audacity, and taking the law into your own hands. Our soul has a passion for doing this when others do something differently to what we would like them to, or do not do what we would like them to. Bear with this; think how it would be if others revenged themselves upon you immediately after you had done something not in accordance with their will, or after you had not fulfilled that which you might and ought to have done. " As ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise;"607607St. Luke vi. 31. or keep to the rule: "We forgive them that trespass against us." Man is duty personified. We must here remember that our heart is extremely capricious, evil, and foolish. Sometimes we take a violent dislike to a person without any cause or reason, 249 and nourish malice in our heart against him, and are ready to offend him without any cause. We must despise the natural and unjust malice of the heart, and pray to God to drive away from our heart this stench of the abyss of hell. Let us remember what we were commanded: " These things I command you that ye love one another."608608St. John xv. 17.

The life of the heart is love, whilst malice and enmity against our brother are its death. The Lord keeps us on the earth in order that love for God and our neighbour may wholly penetrate our heart. This is what He expects from us all. This is, indeed, the purpose of the world's standing.

My daily greatest misfortune is my sins, wounding and gnawing at my heart. But against this misfortune there is also a daily greatest Deliverer and Saviour, Jesus Christ. He daily benefits me, invisibly, bountifully. Poor sinners! Learn to know this Saviour as I know Him, by His grace, by His gifts.

You are angry with your neighbour, your brother, and say of him: " He is such and such—a miser, malicious, proud," or that he has done this and that, and so on. What is that to you? He sins against God, and not against you. God is his Judge, not you: unto God he shall answer for himself, not to you. Know yourself, how sinful you are yourself, what a beam you have in your own eye; how difficult it is for you to master and get the better of your own sins; how afflicted you yourself are by them; how they have ensnared you—how you wish for indulgence from others towards your own infirmities. And your brother is a man like you; therefore you must be indulgent to him as to a sinful man, similar in everything to yourself, as infirm as you; love him, then, as yourself, listening to the Lord saying: "These things I command you, that ye love one another"609609St. John xv. 17.; and as you pray for yourself, that the Lord may help you to root out your own cruel and incurable passions, so pray also for your brother, that the Lord may free him from the flattery and corruption of his passions, from their darkness and oppression. We must remember that we are one sinful body, more or less infected in our members by the breathing of the " common enemy—the Devil"; and that of ourselves, without God's grace, we are powerless to free ourselves from this deadly and darkening breathing: only the Holy Ghost by His breathing can drive away this demoniacal darkness of the passions, through the power of the Lord Jesus Christ's sufferings upon the cross. We must therefore humbly pray to the Lord, in 250 the spirit of brotherly love, for all our brethren and for all people, that they may escape from the darkness of the passions and their great attractiveness, in which they delight, not knowing their destructiveness; for instance: the rich man rejoices in his wealth; the ambitious one—in his distinctions; the glutton—in his food, drink, and dainties; the malicious—in his malice; the envious—in the sufferings of the victim of his envy; and so on.

As the Lord hears every word of the prayer, " God, have mercy upon me," and fulfils every word (this is from experience), if only we speak from the depths of our heart; so, likewise, He hears and fulfils all the words of other prayers, even our own particular sincere prayers. O, Lord, Who so graciously heareth us, glory to Thee! " Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you; for "every one that asketh receiveth"610610St. Matthew vii. 8. Only pray in the simplicity of your heart, and without doubting.

By striking our bodily structure with sickness, the Lord crushes the old, sinful, carnal man, in order to give strength to the new man, whom we have weakened by the works of the flesh: gluttony, slothfulness, amusements, and manifold sinful attachments and passions. "For when I am weak, then am I strong."6116112 Corinthians xii. 10. Therefore, we must accept every malady with gratitude.

God's Saints are great through their spiritual disposition, through their faith, their firm trust in God, and their burning love to God, for Whose sake they despised all earthly things. O, how null we are, compared to them; how unlike unto them! They are great by their great deeds of abstinence, vigilance, fasting, unceasing prayers, their diligence in studying the Word of God, and in pious meditation. O, how unlike we are to them! How deeply we must venerate them! With what reverence we must ask for their prayers for us! But in no case must we regard them lightly, irreverently, remembering their godliness and their union with the Godhead.

I thank Thee, my Lord, my Master, and my Judge, for teaching me how to pray simply to Thee, for hearing my calling upon Thee, for saving me from my sins and sorrows, and for rightly directing my ways. I called upon Thee (in the sin of my wickedness) in the words of the church prayer: " O, Lord, our God, Who grantest forgiveness unto men through repentance ....." And as soon as I finished this 251 prayer, peace and lightness established themselves in my soul (29th June, 1864).

Do not listen to the calumnies of the enemy against your neighbour, his abominations, his various wickednesses, and his pride. Look upon everybody simply, respectfully, as upon the image of God; and do not think any evil of him without reason.

When you are praying either inwardly only, or both inwardly and outwardly, be firmly convinced that the Lord is there, by you and within you, and hears every word, even if only said to yourself, even when you only pray mentally; speak from your whole heart, sincerely, judge yourself likewise sincerely, without in the least justifying yourself; have faith that the Lord will have mercy upon you—and you will not remain unforgiven. This is true. It is taken from experience.

You are angry with your neighbour, you despise him, do not like to speak peaceably and lovingly to him, because there is something harsh, abrupt, careless, unpleasant to you in his character, in his speech, in his manners—because he is more conscious of his dignity than perhaps is necessary; or because he may be somewhat proud and disrespectful; but you yourself, your neighbour's physician and teacher, are more guilty than him. "Physician, heal thyself."612612St. Luke iv. 23. Teacher, teach yourself. Your own malice is the bitterest of all evils. Is it then possible to correct malice by means of evil? Having a beam in your own eye, can you pull out the mote from the eye of another? Evil and faults are corrected by good, by love, kindness, meekness, humility, and patience. Acknowledge yourself as the greatest of sinners, of those who appear to you to be sinners, or are sinners in reality; consider yourself worse and lower than all; wrest out every pride and malice against your neighbour, all impatience and fury, and only then try to cure others. Until then cover the sins of others with your indulgent love. What would life be if everyone were to notice all their neighbour's iniquities? Eternal animosity and discord; for who is without sin? And, therefore, we are commanded to forgive all those who trespass against us; for if the Lord will be extreme to mark our iniquities, who of us may abide before His justice?613613Psalm cxxx. 3. "For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you."614614St. Matthew vi. 14. We stand before the altar of love in the presence of Incarnate Love Itself, but we have no love to each other. How strange it is! And we do 252 not even care about this. But love will not come of itself without our zeal, efforts and activity.

Lover of men, Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, I thank Thee from all my heart, for having heard my prayer to love my neighbour and despise earthly things, and for having poured into my heart peaceful, reasonable and sweet love. Strengthen these in me, O God, through the prayers of Our Most Pure Lady, Thy Mother, and may I be Thy child, O Lord, and Her truest child. 26 July, 1864. 11 o'clock, evening.

O, how beautiful, how precious a creature is man! O, what a most graceful and splendid palm-tree is man! O, man is the best of God's creatures! O, most honourable of God's creatures, that ought, as the image of God, as the justly-revered temple of God Himself, to be inviolable to anything impure! May all impure, evil, blasphemous thoughts, as well as all doubting thoughts, flee from us. We are--the children of God; we are--holy in Christ; let us keep, let us preserve our hearts in holiness, so that the hand of the impure and evil spirits may not in any way touch us, the living arks of God, our thoughts and hearts! Word of God and God Thyself, Who wast incarnate for our sakes, preserve us in Thy holiness! Our Most Holy Head! Deliver not our hearts and bodies to the impure Satan, let him not sully them by evil thoughts, but ever dwell with us and keep us pure and spotless. Grant, Lord, that as members of Thy Body, we may ever have living union with Thee, our Most Divine Head—union in the thoughts of our hearts, in our prayers, and in our deeds. The falling away of our hearts from Thee is—darkness and death, sorrow and straitness, shame, humiliation and the spiritual abomination, whilst with Thee we find—light, life, peace, joy, wide-ness of heart, boldness, greatness and holiness.

You know that eternal life in God is promised you, that you must earn it by obedience to God and His Church during this transitory life, by patience in sickness, sorrows, misfortunes and various privations—and yet you do not wish to obey the Creator, you live in carelessness and neglect of your souls, in neglect of virtue, in continual sin! What can you expect after this, ungrateful, evil-natured, and disobedient creatures? My soul, think and direct all your earthly life to the glory of God and the good of your neighbour. Do not gratify flesh and blood, but seek to please your Lord; for flesh and—blood are—perishable like all earthly things.

>Why be suspicious, where there should be no suspicion? 253 For instance, during reading and listening to the Word of God, or during the reading and singing in church, during the prayers, etc. God is truth, and that is enough; the Church is " the pillar and ground of truth";6156151 Timothy iii. 15. The Devil is—falsehood itself, the calumniator, the adversary—that is enough. Know the one God and His truth; shun the Devil and his lies, illusions and follies.

The demons tremble at the sight and even at the sign of the life-giving cross, because the Son of God was nailed to the wood of the cross and sanctified it by His sufferings upon it; how much more do the demons tremble before Our Lady, the Mother of God, and even at Her Most Holy name? Our Lady is like the brightest star: she is all radiant with the Light—in God, she is like a glowing ember in a large fire, all-luminous and full of fire. As it is easy to think that He, God, is Light and Holiness, so it is that She, too, is eternal light and eternal holiness. Amen.

Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever ";616616Hebrews xiii. 8. as likewise God's truth—everything that is read in the Gospel, the Holy Scriptures, the Church prayers, the Canons, the Acathistos, the Psalms—is the one same eternal truth; it is the same now, as when you first found it, or when you prayed with a fervent heart, and felt its full verity, its sweetness, peace and life-giving effect. You change and place yourself in various relations to it, but the truth itself remains for ever the same—the eternal enlightening, warning and life-giving sun.

How long will it be before the Holy Mysteries of which we partake remind us that, "we, who are many, are one body";6176171 Corinthians x. 17. and how long will there be no mutual hearty union between us, as members of the single body of Christ? How long shall we make our own laws of life be inimical to each Other, envy each other, torment, grieve, fret, judge and abuse each other? When will the Spirit of Christ abide in us, the spirit of meekness, humility, kindness, love unfeigned, self-denial, patience, chastity, abstinence, simplicity and sincerity, contempt for earthly things and entire aspiration after heavenly ones? Lord Jesus Christ! enlighten our spiritual vision and "let Thy loving Spirit lead us all into the land of righteousness."618618Psalm cxliii. 10. Give us Thy Spirit!

The Lord is everything to us all, for we cannot do anything of ourselves, for ourselves. He is the Giver of all powers, 254 all blessings and of everything necessary for our welfare. Let us cast all our sorrows, cares and anxiety upon the Lord.

During prayer, be like a lisping infant, mingling your spirit in one with the spirit of the prayer you are pronouncing. Count yourself as nothing and accept the prayer as a great gift of God. Renounce your own carnal wisdom and do not listen to it, for carnal "knowledge puffeth up,"6196191 Corinthians viii. 1. it doubts, imagines, blasphemes. If, during prayer or at any other time, the enemy hinders your soul by any kind of blasphemy or abominations, do not become despondent in consequence of them, but say firmly in your heart: It was for the cleansing from these and like sins that our Lord Jesus Christ came upon earth; it was to heal these and other like infirmities of spirit that the Most Merciful came to help us; and if you say these words with faith, your heart will be immediately at rest: for the Lord will cleanse your heart. In general, you must not fall into despondency through any sin or evil imagination, but trust in the Saviour. O, boundless Mercy and Compassion of God! O, most great service of the God-Man to us sinners! And even until now He serves us in His love for men, cleansing and saving us. And therefore let the dominion of the enemy be covered with shame!

By praising your pious neighbour—you praise God; by doing good to your neighbour—you do good to yourself, for we are— one body; by doing good to your neighbour—you make God your debtor, for your neighbour is the image of God, and God—is everything in all. By doing good to a Christian—you make Christ, the Son of God, your debtor, for Christians are His body, His members. By lending to a Christian—you lend to the Holy Ghost, for Christians are the temples of the Holy Ghost. " Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?"6206201 Corinthians iii. 16.

God created man after His own image and likeness—this is an infinitely great gift; but man, a reasonably free creature, became ungrateful to His Creator, offended Him by his perfidy and faithlessness, by his pride; he wished to become equal to his Creator and went against Him. Every sin is a war against God. But, O infinite gift of God's love to men! When we had fallen so low by having sinned against the Creator, when we had fallen from life into death, by turning away from God, our Life; when we had corrupted ourselves by sins, and when everlasting death threatened us—God sent upon earth the Redeemer of the World, His own Only-begotten Son, in flesh like unto ours, to suffer for 255 our offences and thus cleanse us from sins, through repentance and faith in Him, and bring us again to His Father, from Whom we had fallen away. Let us value this, God's greatest benefit to us, and let us not "neglect so great salvation!"621621Hebrews ii. 3. Let us constantly remember our sinful corruption, and the means of grace offered by the Church for our regeneration. " Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature."6226222 Corinthians v. 17. Are we new or the same as of old, with the same sins as before?

The Mother of God is one flesh and blood, and one spirit with the Saviour, as His Mother. So infinitely great was Her merit by the grace of God that she became the Mother of God Himself, giving Him most pure and most sacred flesh, nourishing Him with Her milk, carrying Him in Her arms, clothing Him, caring in every way for Him in His infancy, kissing Him over and over again, and caressing Him. O Lord, who can describe the greatness of the God-bearing Virgin? " Every tongue is in doubt how to worthily praise Thee, even the angelic mind itself wonders how to hymn Thee, Mother of God....."623623Hirmos from the Canon at Christmas. We must call upon Her with one thought and simple impulse of the heart..... She is one with God, like the Saints.

Know and remember, that the matter of your salvation is always near to the heart of Our Lady, the Mother of God, for it was for this that the Son of God, by the favour of the Father, and the co-operation of the Holy Ghost, chose Her out of all generations and was incarnate of Her in order to save the human race from sin, the curse and the eternal death, or everlasting torments. As the matter of our salvation is near to the Saviour, so likewise it is near to Her. Turn to Her with full faith, trust, and love.

Christ, the Son of God, the Most Holy God, "is not ashamed to call us sinners brethren;"624624Hebrews ii. 11. therefore do not at least be ashamed to call brothers and sisters poor, obscure, simple people, whether they be your relatives according to the flesh or not, do not be proud in your intercourse with them, do not despise them, for we are all actually brothers in Christ—we were all born of water and the Spirit in the baptismal font and became children of God; we are all called Christians, we are all nourished with the Body and Blood of the Son of God, the Saviour of the world, the sacraments of the Church are celebrated over all of us, we all pray the Lord's prayer: " Our Father....." and all of us equally call God our Father. We do not know any other relationship besides the spiritual, the highest, the eternal 256 relationship, which was given to us by the Lord of our life, the Creator, and the Regenerator of our nature, Jesus Christ, for this relationship is alone true, holy, lasting, whilst earthly relationship is untrue, changeable, inconstant, transitory, corruptible as our flesh and blood are corruptible. And therefore be simple in your intercourse with your fellow-men, as an equal with equals, and do not exalt yourself above anyone, but, on the contrary, humble yourself. "For every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted."625625St. Luke xviii. 14.Do not say: I am educated and he or she—is not, he or she—is a simple uneducated peasant; the gift of God is given to you, an unworthy one: do not turn it into an occasion for pride, but into an occasion for humility, for "unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required; and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more."626626St. Luke xii. 48Do not say: I am of noble birth, and he is of low birth—earthly nobility, without the nobility of faith and virtue, is—an idle name. What is there in my nobility, when I am as much a sinner as others, or perhaps even worse? And we must love our neighbour, not in our way, but in God's way, that is, not according to our will, but in accordance with the Will of God. Our will is only to love those who love us, and to despise, hate, and persecute our enemies or those who are displeasing to us from some reason or other. But God desires that we should love these still more, because they are sick; so that we ourselves, being also sick with self-love, scorn and malice, should cure ourselves by love and humility, applying this same all-healing plaster also to the wounds of their hearts. In curing the spiritual maladies of others, we must not in any case be arrogant nor bear malice, nor become angry and get out of temper, nor think of our own advantage instead of our neighbour's, and serve our own self-love and, in general, our own passions. "Charity is not provoked" by the thoughtless or arrogant behaviour of its neighbour, "but suffereth long, and is kind. . . .Vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up. . . . . thinketh no evil,"6276271 Corinthians xiii. 4-5. does not take account of every word and screens everything. Yes, this is right: for what you screen by indulgence, often easily passes away of itself. And therefore he who strives to cure others, must himself be in good health, so that he may not be told: "Physician, heal thyself."628628St. Luke iv. 23If the man, whom you strive to heal, notices that you yourself are evil, angry, and do not love him, then he will inwardly despise and hate you, and you will not produce any effect upon him by anything, for evil is not amended by evil, but by good. "Overcome evil with good,"629629Romans xii. 21.first root out in yourself that which you wish to root out in others.

257

Worldly cares obscure the mental horizon of our soul; like mist, they darken the spiritual vision and bind the soul. But be careful for nothing, and cast all your sorrows and anxieties upon the Lord, in accordance with the Spirit-bearing teaching of the apostle. Do not grudge any expenses incurred for others; these are a pledge of new and greater bounties from the Lord to you.

Some seem to be praying to the Lord, but are in reality serving the Devil, who nestles in their hearts, because they pray only with their lips, whilst their hearts are cold, do not feel, and do not desire that which the lips ask and say, and are "far from"630630Isaiah xxix. 13. the Lord. Likewise, there are many communicants who communicate of the Body and Blood of Christ insincerely, not with great love, but only with their mouths and bellies, with little faith, coldly, with hearts attached to food, drink and money, or inclined to pride, malice, envy, slothfulness, and far from Him Who is all love, holiness, perfection, great wisdom, and unspeakable goodness. It is needful for such persons to go deeper into themselves, to repent more deeply, and think profoundly of what prayer is, and what Holy Communion is. Coldness of heart towards God, towards prayer, proceeds from the Devil, he is the coldness of hell; but let us, as children Of God, love the Lord with burning love. Grant us this, our Lord, for without Thee "we can do nothing."631631St. John xv. 5.For Thou art—everything to us, whilst we ourselves are—nothing. Thou hast brought us from nonentity into being, and hast provided us with everything.

To repent—means to feel in our hearts the falsehood, the madness, the guilt of our sins, it means—to acknowledge that we have offended, by them, our Creator, our Lord, our Father and Benefactor, Who is infinitely holy, and infinitely abhors sin, it means, to desire, with the whole soul, to amend and to expiate our sins.

Remind the Christian who has sinned voluntarily or involuntarily, more frequently of his dignity, that he has been made godly, and that our nature is placed upon the throne with God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Tell the Jew, Mahometan, or heathen—at a fitting occasion—of what they deprive themselves by lingering in unbelief, tell them how our nature has been raised, ennobled, filled with grace by the Son of God; exhort Christians to give 258 up sinning for the sake of this nobility of their nature and draw unbelievers to the faith of Christ.

"The great Litany." In accordance with it, we are all—one. In the litany are enumerated all the members of the Church—the body of Christ—first the earthly members, and then the heavenly ones. Such is the character of all the Divine services of the Russian Orthodox Church: of the vespers, matins, Liturgy. With what a spirit, with what elevation of the thoughts, with what love, must the priest pray to God "in behalf of all, and for all."632632Prayer at the Liturgy during the Oblation.

Throughout the prayers and hymns of the Church moves the Spirit of Truth. Everything contradictory and blasphemous that comes into the head, from without, proceeds from the Devil, the father of lies, the calumniator; the prayers and psalms are the bre